Novi Public Schools has one. So do Northville, West Bloomfield, Dearborn, Birmingham, Rochester and Livonia.
Now Farmington Public Schools officials are looking at establishing an educational foundation that would allow citizens to more directly support the district's technology needs, fine arts programs, scholastic achievement and cultural experiences for students across the district.
"It's sole purpose is to support student achievement," Farmington High PTA president Chris Greig said.
Greig, who was part of a group that researched establishing a foundation, told officials Tuesday the idea came up when the district held budget forums several years ago. As the district's PTA Council president, she was working a table at the events.
"A lot of people came up to me and said, 'What can we do?'," Greig said. "They wanted to contribute money. That kind of got the wheels started."
In addition to being a repository for direct contributions, a foundation could also increase access to corporate and foundation grant opportunities, she said.
Area foundations have raised widely varying amounts, with Northville being among the most successful. Greig said their educational foundation has $400,000 in annual revenues, and has received two large, one-time donations of $500,00 and $1 million.
"That's pretty sweet," she said. "That would be a goal."
To creat the foundation, the district would have to form a board of directors, establish by-laws and go through the other legal requirements of filing for 501(c)3 nonprofit status. The committee recommended forming a design team that would work with an experienced consultant. Other steps include raising seed money, setting up office space, publicizing the foundation and creating a founding donor campaign, Greig said.
The committee recommended hiring Michigan-based McCormick Group, which has established 350 similar foundations, at a cost of approximately $23,495. The cost for non-profit filing, Greig said, is $850.
Supt. Sue Zurvalec said the district would also look at both creating a separate educational foundation and partnering with the Farmington-Farmington Hills Foundation for Youth and Families, a community foundation. One area that's different, she said, is the establishment of an alumni association.
"That's a typical donor base for an educational foundation," Zurvalec said.
Officials will consider approval of the foundation at their Jan. 24 meeting.