Non-profit

Southern Education Foundation (SEF)

Website:

southerneducation.org/

Location:

Atlanta, GA

Tax ID:

13-5562388

Tax-Exempt Status:

501(c)(3)

Budget (2021):

Revenue: $5,003,274
Expenses: $2,731,508
Assets: $32,697,616

Type:

Education Advocacy Group

Formation:

1937 (Tax exempt since 1942)

President and CEO:

Raymond C. Pierce

Budget (2022):

Revenue: $8,861,264
Expenses: $4,267,510
Net Assets: $29,222,431 1

References

  1. Southern Education Foundation, Return of an organization exempt from taxation (Form 990) Part I, 2022.

Contact InfluenceWatch with suggested edits or tips for additional profiles.

The Southern Education Foundation (SEF) is a left-of-center education activist organization that is focused on education in the American South, especially for Black Americans. The foundation is the result of various mergers by education funds dating back to the period following the American Civil War. SEF is staunchly opposed to the use of any public funds outside of the government school system and works to provide equity training in various forms to government school administrators, teachers, and potential future leaders. 1 2 3

Founding and History

The Southern Education Foundation is the product of the union of three different philanthropic funds established in the wake of the American Civil War for the purpose of promoting education among both Black and white Americans in the South. The first of these funds was the Peabody Education Fund, established in 1867 by George Peabody with a $1 million endowment. In 1882, the Connecticut textile industrialist John F. Slater established the Slater Fund with a starting gift of $1 million to further education in the south. 4

A third fund, the Jeanes Fund, also called the Negro Rural School Fund, was established by wealthy Philadelphia Quaker Anna T. Jeanes for the express purpose of assisting in the education of Black southerners. Notable board members included former U.S. President and Chief Justice William Taft, the industrialist Andrew Carnegie, Black educational pioneer Booker T. Washington, and George Peabody, who had established the Peabody Fund in 1867. 5

In 1914, the Peabody Fund was merged into the Slater Fund, having provided over $3.5 million in funding for southern education since its founding. Then, in 1937, the Slater Fund was merged with the Jeanes Fund and another southern educational fund, the Randolph Fund, established in 1936, to form what is now known as the Southern Education Foundation. 6

Financials

In 2022, the Southern Education Foundation reported $8,861,264 in revenue, of which $7,556,460 derived from grants and contributions, $768,331 from investment income, and $457,818 from the sale of assets. It had $4,267,510 in expenses, of which $816,683 went to executive compensation and $973,270 went to other staff salary and wages. It ended the year with net income of $4,593,754 and net assets of $29,222,431. 7

In 2022, the foundation received a unrestricted grant of $6 million from Mackenzie Scott, the ex-wife of Amazon founder Jeff Bezos. 8

Programs

The Southern Education Foundation runs a variety of education-focused programs. These include an equity-assistance program that trains government schools in issues related to race, national origin, sex, and religion; the expansion of access to early childhood education; and equity-focused leadership training. 9 10 11

Organization Stances

The Southern Education Foundation is staunchly opposed to any efforts to promote school choice or to make any public funds available for use outside of government-run schools. Notably, the foundation opposes the creation of and advocates for the elimination of any programs, such as school vouchers, education savings accounts, and tax credit scholarship programs, claiming that such programs do not show any academic benefit and that they are inequitable. 12

SEF has also criticized the No Child Left Behind Act due to its emphasis on standardized testing and attributes “zero tolerance laws” established in the wake of the 1999 Columbine school massacre as pushing more Black and brown students into what it terms “the school to prison pipeline.” 13

Leadership

Raymond C. Pierce is the president and CEO of the Southern Education Foundation, a position he has held since the beginning of 2018. He has worked in a variety of roles, including as a deputy assistant secretary of education in the Clinton administration, a law school dean, a business lawyer, and a visiting professor of public policy and political theology at Duke University Divinity School. 14

References

  1. “157 Year Timeline.” Southern Education Foundation. Accessed May 24, 2024. https://southerneducation.org/who-we-are/timeline/.
  2. “SEF’s Public Policy Priorities.” Southern Education Foundation. Accessed May 22, 2024. https://southerneducation.org/what-we-do/sefpolicypositions/.
  3. “Leadership Development.” Southern Education Foundation. Accessed May 24, 2024. https://southerneducation.org/what-we-do/leadership-development/.
  4.  “157 Year Timeline.” Southern Education Foundation. Accessed May 24, 2024. https://southerneducation.org/who-we-are/timeline/.
  5. “157 Year Timeline.” Southern Education Foundation. Accessed May 24, 2024. https://southerneducation.org/who-we-are/timeline/.
  6.  “157 Year Timeline.” Southern Education Foundation. Accessed May 24, 2024. https://southerneducation.org/who-we-are/timeline/.
  7. Southern Education Foundation, Return of an organization exempt from taxation (Form 990) Part I, 2022.
  8.  “Southern Education Foundation Receives $6 Million Gift from MacKenzie Scott.” Southern Education Foundation, March 24, 2022. Accessed May 22, 2024.  https://southerneducation.org/in-the-news/southern-education-foundation-southern-education-foundation-receives-6-million-gift-from-mackenzie-scott/.
  9. “Homepage.” EAC-South. Accessed May 24, 2024. https://eacsouth.org/.
  10. “Early Childhood Education.” Southern Education Foundation. Accessed May 24, 2024. https://southerneducation.org/what-we-do/early-childhood/.
  11. “Leadership Development.” Southern Education Foundation. Accessed May 24, 2024. https://southerneducation.org/what-we-do/leadership-development/
  12.  “SEF’s Public Policy Priorities.” Southern Education Foundation. Accessed May 22, 2024. https://southerneducation.org/what-we-do/sefpolicypositions/.
  13. “157 Year Timeline.” Southern Education Foundation. Accessed May 24, 2024. https://southerneducation.org/who-we-are/timeline/.
  14. “Staff.” Southern Education Foundation. Accessed May 24, 2024. https://southerneducation.org/who-we-are/our-team/staff/.
  See an error? Let us know!

Nonprofit Information

  • Accounting Period: December - November
  • Tax Exemption Received: May 1, 1942

  • Available Filings

    Period Form Type Total revenue Total functional expenses Total assets (EOY) Total liabilities (EOY) Unrelated business income? Total contributions Program service revenue Investment income Comp. of current officers, directors, etc. Form 990
    2021 Dec Form 990 $5,003,274 $2,731,508 $32,697,616 $1,181,928 N $3,988,850 $0 $564,377 $737,905
    2020 Dec Form 990 $1,943,333 $3,338,001 $27,828,839 $1,343,258 N $1,389,634 $0 $426,957 $677,512
    2019 Dec Form 990 $1,354,220 $4,393,255 $26,469,811 $1,138,271 N $724,240 $38,575 $540,336 $754,086 PDF
    2018 Dec Form 990 $2,565,353 $4,317,463 $26,014,560 $1,291,475 Y $1,565,117 $9,181 $646,420 $722,998 PDF
    2017 Dec Form 990 $5,091,937 $4,278,245 $30,236,682 $1,205,102 N $3,072,002 $14,621 $550,029 $689,760 PDF
    2016 Dec Form 990 $4,216,724 $2,802,275 $25,921,446 $47,403 N $693,538 $0 $487,208 $753,609
    2015 Dec Form 990 $7,370,024 $3,097,101 $26,399,087 $145,866 N $6,696,000 $0 $514,925 $885,652 PDF
    2014 Dec Form 990 $3,026,025 $3,167,149 $23,120,169 $59,578 N $1,470,664 $0 $557,185 $728,808 PDF
    2013 Dec Form 990 $1,499,888 $2,783,319 $23,939,999 $51,621 N $566,209 $10,804 $558,548 $696,823 PDF
    2012 Dec Form 990 $1,736,657 $2,526,259 $24,424,395 $60,318 N $615,125 $16,288 $713,751 $695,282 PDF
    2011 Dec Form 990 $2,855,127 $2,744,378 $24,114,144 $86,539 N $2,074,069 $0 $831,459 $671,598 PDF
    2010 Dec Form 990 $2,553,672 $2,390,880 $24,515,365 $73,636 N $1,740,538 $0 $651,100 $652,048 PDF

    Additional Filings (PDFs)

    Southern Education Foundation (SEF)

    101 Marietta St. NW, 16th Floor (Suite 1650)
    Atlanta, GA 30303