Many nonprofit organizations seek to make change. To that end, much needed "capital" -- variously described as social, public, professional, and human -- is being brought to bear upon pressing social issues. Researchers across the country are attempting to understand how these resources are being generated, deployed, and administered, and to what avail. Of particular interest here are local education funds (LEFs) and their leaders. LEFs are a set of voluntary, intermediate, and mission-driven organizations, conceived by the Ford Foundation in 1983, which sit strategically at the nexus of educational and civic capacity building.
This report provides the results of the first phase of the Public Education Network (PEN) leadership study, a baseline survey administered to 59 LEF executive directors.The survey had two purposes: to provide a snapshot of leadership characteristics and perceptions of executive directors -- information never before compiled and examined -- and to gather contextual information on the LEFs and the communities they serve. The results will be used as a foundation for subsequent research on LEF leadership. In time, the findings from this research will assist PEN in its efforts to nurture and sustain LEF leadership.