Four Ways Donors Can Immediately Support Students, Families, and Teachers

Connectivity for Students to take 2020 AP Tests – Deadline April 24

The College Board announced changes coming to AP tests in light of the COVID-19 crisis. The L.A. Times reported the College Board is “working with partners to provide thousands of Chromebooks and tablets, along with broadband internet access, to all who need.” This shift in administering exams may have long-term implications for how the College Board offers AP tests to students in rural communities and other environments with limited access to in-person tests. The College Board is seeking $1 million to purchase 5,000 hotspot devices – each device comes with included data plans – for students who need the support. They have secured suppliers who will provide these hotspots on their tight timeline, but they need the funding for them. To date they have secured $200,000 in philanthropy, but more is needed to get devices to students. The devices need to be shipped by April 24. Contact Tori Bell at vbell@philanthropyroundtable.org or Jeff Carlson at jcarlson@collegeboard.org for more information.


City-specific Funds for Internet Connectivity

Internet connectivity is a barrier for many students to continue their learning at home. Cities across the nation have mobilized local philanthropy to make sure students and school networks have access to needed technology, meals, and the internet.

The Philadelphia School Partnership, along with initial donations from the Susquehanna Foundation, Lenfest Foundation, and McCausland Foundation, launched the Jump-Start Philly Schools Fund. The goals of the Fund are to close the technology gap, transition to virtual learning, and prepare for academic recovery. Since April 1st the Fund has distributed over 14,000 Chromebook computers to more than 100 public charter, private, and Catholic schools serving low-income students, which in turn have been getting them in the hands of families. The Fund has raised over $4.2 million of its $6 million goal, and now includes new donors such as the Connelly Foundation, the Horner Foundation, the Hamilton Family Charitable Trust and George and Karen Rosskam. Contact Mariah Bonner-McDuffie at mbonner-mcduffie@philaschool.org to join this collaborative effort. 

The D.C. Education Equity Fund was established at the Greater Washington Community Foundation in partnership with Education Forward D.C. and the D.C. Public Education Fund. The fund allows D.C. district and charter public schools to provide internet and device access to students (hotspots, laptops, etc.) as well as support immediate food and hygiene needs. On April 7th, the fund distributed its initial grants of $1.07 million to over 60 D.C. schools. All donation processing costs are covered so 100% of funds raised go directly to serve D.C. students and their families. For more information on how to donate contact Erin Sheehy at esheehy@edforwarddc.org.

The Idaho Community Foundation, United Ways in Idaho, and Idaho Nonprofit Center created the COVID-19 Response and Recovery Fund for Idaho which provides grants to organizations that serve low-income individuals and families. The grants are meant to help nonprofits fill the gap not covered by public institutions. For additional information message info@idahocf.org. The Boise School Education Foundation recently expanded their Student Aid Fund for Emergencies (SAFE) to provide resources for those negatively affected. They can be reached by email at foundation@boiseschools.org

The Indianapolis E-Learning Fund was established with an initial investment of $2.6 million to support educators, students, and families. Donors involved include the Richard M. Fairbanks Foundation, Eli Lilly and Company Foundation, the Cummins Foundation, EdChoice, the Emmis Communications, Glick Philanthropies, The Heritage Group, The Indianapolis Foundation, The Indianapolis Foundation Library Fund, The Indianapolis Motor Speedway, the Indiana Charter School Network, the Institute for Quality Education, Lilly Endowment Inc., the Lumina Foundation, The Mind Trust, The OneAmerica Foundation Inc., Salesforce, the Telamon Foundation, and United Way of Central Indiana. The fund will focus on improving technology access, crafting county-wide social-emotional learning strategy, and creating a statewide e-learning lab for students attending public schools. Any questions about the fund can be directed to oei@indy.gov.

In partnership with Comcast, the Atlanta Public School system launched the Get Our Kids Connected Initiative to support families with low-cost, high-speed internet. In just under a month, the Initiative reached its fundraising goal of $300,000 to provide 1,000 students with a laptop and internet connection for 12 months. The Initiative is currently discussing next steps. Questions about partnership opportunities can be directed to Rachel Sprecher at rsprecher@atlanta.k12.ga.us.

In March, several anonymous donors made it possible for the New York City Charter School Center to release individual grants of up to $30,000 to qualified charter schools to cover remote learning expenses. Although this grant opportunity has ended, contact Randall Iserman at riserman@nyccharterschools.org for ways to continue supporting NYC charter schools. 

The Richmond Promise created a special COVID-19 Richmond Promise Scholars Rapid Response Fund to support college students who are studying remotely. This support includes access to technology, travel assistance, and food expenses. Contact info@richmondpromise.org

The West Contra Costa Public Education Fund is directing all contributions to support families in need as identified by the West Contra Costa Unified School District. Support includes groceries, internet services and other emergency needs that help stabilize families during this crisis. Contact Jasmine Jones at jasmine@edfundwest.org.

With generous support from the David A. Tepper Charitable Foundation, John M. Belk Endowment, and David Belk Cannon Foundation, the Charlotte-Mecklenburg School Foundation partnered with Eliminate the Digital Divide to provide 6,000 hotspots and prepaid internet service. Contact info@cms-foundation.org for more ways to give.

 

Teacher Education Funds

Future of School launched the Remote Learning Relief Fund (RLRF) to provide immediate grants to teachers to get the tools they need to deliver quality instruction to their students. The RLRF has multiple partnerships with organizations including The Modern Classrooms Project and iLearn Collaborative. 100% of donations go towards teachers serving students in remote learning environments. 

DonorsChoose launched a Keep Learning Fund to get much-needed supplies to teachers and their students. Some of their preexisting partners include Bill & Melinda Gates, the Neukom Family Foundation, Oak Foundation, and the Burton Family Foundation. The Fund gives resources to teachers at schools in low-income communities where nearly all students are eligible for free and reduced lunch. Over $6 million has been raised with over 4,000 teachers receiving assistance. For potential partnership opportunities contact DonorsChoose here

 

Microgrants to Families

Other donors are mobilizing funds directly to families who need them most. 

Over 30 organizations have come together to support low-income and immigrant families in Los Angeles by launching One Family LA. All dollars raised will go directly to assist families with food, rent, medical supplies, childcare, and other basic needs. Great Public Schools Now serves as the convener and fiscal sponsor entity, and all partner organizations have generously donated their time and capacity. Families that qualify for assistance are those within the LA Unified School District, have at least one preK-12 grade student in the home, are at or close to the poverty line, and have experienced economic hardship due to coronavirus. Information about the fund or partnership opportunities can be found by contacting info@onefamilyLA.com.

Stand Together, in partnership with the Families Independence Initiative, contributed $5 million to help the first 10,000 families in the #GiveTogetherNow campaign. The campaign supports families and individuals who are experiencing financial hardship due to unpaid leave due to social isolation orders, care of vulnerable or infected relatives, loss of wages due to involuntary business closures, or unpaid leave of absences due to school closures. To date the campaign has partnered with over 50 national and state organizations, raised over $30 million and supported over 60,000 families in need. 

The Oakland Unified School District (OUSD) and the Oakland Public Education Fund have come together to serve over 37,000 students and their families with the Rapid Relief Fund. The Fund focuses on feeding students and families, providing quality distance learning, and supporting vulnerable families through rapid cash assistance. The Fund has raised over 1.5 million in donations since its launch in late March but is looking to extend its relief efforts for the next few months. Contact Jonathan Osler at jonathan@oaklandedfund.org for additional information. 

GiveDirectly, with support from the Schusterman Family Foundation, Google, and NBA Cares, has launched Project 100, which seeks to provide cash relief to 100,000 US families. The goal of the project is to raise $100 million in 100 days. The initiative directs $1,000 to families currently enrolled in SNAP, 86% of whom have lost significant income due to COVID-19. Key partners for Project 100 include Propel (creator of the Fresh EBT app) and Stand for Children (education advocacy organization focused on disadvantaged and marginalized communities).