Not necessarily, as I discovered while researching how school fundraising and giving, in general, has been hit by the recession for May’s edition of ASBJ.
For days, I scoured search engines and subscription databases, expecting to find countless stories of districts abandoned, ignored, desperate to find donors willing to spare a dime and bolster their crippled budgets.
I found a few, like Beaverton High School in Oregon, where booster club president and long-time volunteer Marcia Loggins was at her wits end on where else to go and who else to turn to fund events and programs at the school.
“I know businesses are hurting and because there’s such competition for fewer dollars it’s like a frenzy,” Loggins told me. “It’s almost like people are running to doors saying, ‘Me first.’ Our poor little orthodonist probably supports everything in town.”
Loggins’ experience was certainly dire, but from what I could find, isolated. At my wits end and at the suggestion of my editor, I turned to one of the posterchilds of the depressed economy: Elkhart, Ind.
Pres. Obama had put the manufacturing town on the map, as he hosted a series of townhall meetings across the country intended to create momentum toward his economic stimulus package.
With a decimated local economy, thanks to tanking RV sales (their big industry), and unemployment rates at 15 percent, surely, community generosity toward schools was scaling back in Elkhart. Nope.
Ellen Moore, the public relations and volunteer coordinator at Elkhart Community Schools, told me a movement began in 2001, just before the last recession, and has continued throughout this recession.