For the past ten years, PEN has undertaken a survey of its members, the purpose of which has been to chart organizational and programmatic characteristics of local education funds (LEFs). In addition to providing valuable information about individual LEFs, each year's survey results provide a snapshot of members' collective work, used primarily by LEF directors to inform their development efforts, communications strategies, and other organizational decisionmaking. The survey also provides data for deeper research on the work and impact of LEFs.
Focus of 2005 Survey: Last year, based on recommendations from the membership, PEN expanded the focus of the survey to include deeper information on LEF programs and initiatives. The survey revealed several trends, such as an increase in policy research, larger and more comprehensive reform initiatives, broader public engagement activities, and youth development. This year, we have taken an opportunity to collect recent information on the impact of LEF programs and initiatives. LEF initiatives that have been in operation for at least the past two years have begun to yield impact data on critical measures such as student academic achievement, student higher education participation, community involvement in education, and teacher quality, satisfaction and retention.