Role of VFEL
VFEL was founded with the purpose of linking all education levels – preschool, elementary, middle, high school, and higher education – to create a comprehensive seamless system of leadership learning. VFEL earnestly pursues its purpose and strategic goals, ranging from knowledge development to policy research to constituency service. The Foundation services are specifically designed to build human capital in strengthening educational leadership. VFEL embraces its vital role as advocate and voice regarding leadership learning and advanced education for practicing and future school leaders.
Throughout American history, citizens have turned to nonprofit organizations to provide a strong, collective voice to inform and influence public policy. Through the Foundation’s advocacy efforts, VFEL faculty members research, synthesize, and disseminate knowledge, promote specific reforms, engage various media, write white papers, and collaborate with other organizations – both nonprofit and corporations – in activities that promote the mission, vision, and values of VFEL.
Political advocacy can be viewed in a strict sense as a focus on governmental decision makers – grassroots lobbying that requires others to contact legislators to support or oppose specific legislation, attempts to influence public opinion, and educational efforts designed to encourage community and political participation. Social advocacy, on the other hand, attempts to influence public opinion, to encourage civic and political participation, and to influence the policies of private institutions such as corporations, private schools, universities, and other nonprofit organizations.
VFEL is aware of the legal regulations on formal lobbying imposed by the Internal Revenue Service for charitable organizations. When nonprofit organizations advocate for specific legislation (i.e. lobby), it may trigger specific rules and limits. Consequently, the Foundation articulates a position on matters important to its mission and mobilizes support for it. Shaping public policy debates on the vital topic of educational leadership has become critical, especially in this era of limited school district budgets, lack of emphasis on continuing professional development, and the limited instruction teachers receive to become school leaders and principals. The Foundation, as a service and advocacy organization, ascribes its methods to the social construction theory whereby a mission, vision, and values are developed to address the needs for effective educational leadership and a compelling method of articulation is delivered for bringing about change.