Purpose: The purpose of this article is to address the involvement of third sector organizations in state public education in Israel, with emphasis on the decision-making processes affecting the geographic distribution of service provision. Design/methodology/approach: A collective case study approach was used to investigate non-governmental organization (NGO) procedures for the deployment of the educational services they provide. The study was based on semi-structured interviews with key personnel and on documents from four NGOs operating in the Israeli public education system. Findings: The article illustrates the extent of third sector organizations' involvement in the Israeli public educational system, in most cases operated with significant governmental funding. The findings reveal two main factors in the NGOs' decision-making process that affect their operational deployment: the type of financing model they adopted and the nature of their relationship with the Ministry of Education. Practical implications: The paper's findings have led to several policy recommendations. It recommends that NGOs be more aware of their financing model and more critical in its appraisal. It also recommends that the state take into account the vision and financing model of NGOs and its own strategic responsibility for reaching nationwide social goals when selecting partners. Originality/value: The study examines the increasing involvement of NGOs in state public education. As trends of privatization and democratization continue, the number of NGOs operating in the public education system continues to rise, and their importance continues to increase.