Many public safety agencies have embraced the concept of public-private partnerships by working with various private sector entities that wish to provide ongoing financial support to a training center or facility. The structure for doing so frequently takes the form of a not-for-profit corporation that is organized and operated exclusively for charitable and educational purposes. These Public Safety Training Center Foundations generally enjoy tax-exempt status pursuant to Section 501(c) (3) of the federal Internal Revenue Code. They typically solicit and receive public and private donations, gifts, grants, memorials, and bequests of money, property, and services that support training of fire, police, EMS, emergency management, other public agency personnel, and related private sector employees. Examples of existing foundations include:
- The Northeastern Illinois Public Safety Training Academy (NIPSTA) Foundation. Founded in 2006. It is governed by a five-member Board of Directors. This Foundation supports:
- Development of a diverse public safety curriculum
- Design and implementation of state-of-the-art training props
- Expansion of NIPSTA facilities, programs, and services
- Enhancement of emergency preparedness and response
- Improvements in community safety that result from better-trained personnel
- Their web site lists over 60 private-sector foundation contributors.
- Web Site: http://www.nipsta.org/foundation/
- The Nassau County (New York) Police Department Foundation. It is governed by a fourteen-member Board of Directors and was formed to help make the vision of the new Nassau County Center for Law Enforcement Training and Intelligence a reality. The Nassau County Police Department sought to explore using a public/private partnership to get this project accomplished. With this in mind, a group of concerned business leaders established the Nassau County Police Department Foundation, Inc., a not-for-profit corporation. This entity will help provide private monies to establish the new Center.
- The Highlands Ranch Law Enforcement Training Foundation (Littleton, Colorado). Founded in 1993, the Foundation was created to manage the large training facility built in 1986. It too is a not-for-profit 501 (c) (3) corporation governed by a Board of Directors that includes representatives of Douglas and Arapahoe County Sheriff’s Offices, as well as Shea Homes Inc.
- Oak Hill Fire Foundation - The Oak Hill Regional Emergency Response Training Foundation (Oak Hill Fire Foundation) is the not-for-profit organization associated with the Travis County Emergency Services District #3/Oak Hill Fire Department. The Foundation seeks contributions from interested individuals and corporations in order to provide equipment and scholarships for emergency response education and training.
- Central Mountain Training Foundation - The Central Mountain Training Foundation (CMTF) was created 6/14/04. The founding leaders come from seven counties (Chaffee, Custer, Fremont, Pueblo, El Paso, Park and Teller) from the central mountain region of Colorado. CMTF has been a leader in seeking and obtaining funding to provide the highest quality training at the lowest possible cost not just for law enforcement professionals but for a wide variety of first responders.
While the training centers supported by these types of foundations clearly benefit from the generosity of its members and contributors, the individuals and private-sector businesses supporting the foundations are also rewarded. Private Citizens and local businesses often view their contributions as a way to “give back” to their community by providing financial support to their local first responders. Larger regional or national companies often have programs in place that set aside funds to donate to worthy causes and these foundations give them an opportunity to showcase their support for public safety. Frequently, a foundation will recognize large corporate donations that are targeted to support a specific program or capital purchase by aligning the business name with the program or item that it sponsored.Particularly during these challenging economic times, public safety foundations can provide the kind of public-private partnership that’s ideal for helping to raise funds used to build, equip, and maintain state-of-the art training facilities and provide specialized training courses.
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