Our Secondary School System and Sponsorship

Stop! We can’t have corporate sponsors in our secondary school system. Corporate sponsors…aghh! They will corrupt the young minds of our children. Corporate sponsors will influence the curriculum. Corporate sponsors cannot be in our school system!

And of course, we in the secondary school system don’t need that corporate money anyway. We are rolling in dough. Between generous donors, the government, and our great chocolate bar and frozen pizza fund raisers, we have more money than we know what to do with! With over 180 capital campaigns worth $16 billion underway in Canada right now, donor funding for such education is limited.

Let’s face it. Our school systems, both independent and public, need more money. For decades, universities and post-secondary institutions resisted the world of corporate sponsorship because of the same misguided beliefs. But soon enough, they discovered that curriculum and classroom teaching is not (and should not) be mandated or controlled by sponsors. In the same way, Air Canada does not get to tell Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment how to run the hockey club because it is a sponsor, nor does CIBC get to tell the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation how to allocate funding, or HP get to tell the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology (NAIT) how to run the college or what to teach in class because it named a building. Our secondary schools need to understand this and move forward with a viable channel for additional revenue.

Every day, companies spend millions to reach our school aged children. And they do it very successfully without being in the school system. Instead of our cash strapped school systems getting the money, the billboard companies do with their placement around the schools. Facebook and social media advertising reaches our kids right on school grounds. The TV they watch, the magazines they read, and the online digital messaging they get all reap the rewards of sending messages to our kids. Why are the schools not cashing in on this and controlling the messaging? Yes, we can control the message! Yes we can make money. We just need to reach beyond the archaic thoughts and understanding of the 1980s. What’s more, we have already let or even encouraged local and national companies sponsor or advertise in our schools for decades. They are on rink boards, sidelines of fields, score clocks, and even gym banners. They are on theatre programs given to student and parents at fine arts productions. Then there are the corporate sponsors of all the fund raising events. Do we think this is all different from “true corporate sponsorship”? If so, we are misinformed. We are already permitting “advertising” to our students, parents, faculty, and staff, but not in an organized and systematic fashion that would reap much more revenue for the school or school board and deliver better ROI for the sponsors.

Corporate sponsorship is part of the funding future for secondary educational institutions. Our governments and donors cannot continue to sustain the revenue needed by these independent and public organizations. A controlled and managed system for professional sponsorship programs in our schools can address concerns that may arise regarding curriculum, product sampling, and building naming. There is so much in the asset pool within these schools that the rewards are endless. I have not seen any Junior Achievement students scarred for life by “corporate sponsorship” which is the mainstay of the program’s funding. In fact, I have seen and know many highly successful business people, school teachers, and professionals who went through the JA program when they were in secondary school systems and were supported by corporate sponsorship. Before we run classes of 30+ students in grade two (oops, we are already there-my daughter had over 30 kids in her grade two class this past year) and have no off-site expeditions and fewer teachers, we need to look at alternate funding sources, because the old model is broken.

Corporate sponsorship is part of the solution.

These are just one person’s thoughts. Yours are welcomed as well. Please add your thoughts or comments here. Thank you for reading and your feedback.

Brent Barootes


  1. Brent,
    While a cash influx would be great for the institutions, what about the kids? Yes, I read the article, but why should we inundate students with more? They have enough to deal with in school, sports and social lives (the kids would have a different order, of course). And yes, they will be influenced by the presence of a logo or product that they see 6 hours or so a day for 180 days a year. Why else would sponsors want something of theirs in the school?
    The solution is short term (cash) for schools, the effect will be long term on the students. So if I was a sponsor – I would be on board big time.
    My two cents.

    • Tim,
      Thanks for your input. From my experience, the days of logo placement are gone. Sponsors want more interaction and experience that will assist and educate, versus lay stagnant like a logo. I agree there must be a balance and I think it can be attained if the door were opened to discussion versus slammed shut. We have seen it work well at post secondary levels and even secondary levels. The conversation needs to begin.


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