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News from the Foundation

Posted: June 3, 2021

Foundation Has Unexpected Record Year for Donations

Despite the pandemic and the cancellation of two signature fundraisers, the APS Education Foundation awarded 79 grants totaling over $316,500.

At the beginning of the 2020-2021 school year, with so much uncertainty. one thing remained certain. The APS Education Foundation Board of Directors would pursue its mission by partnering with the community to invest in innovative and enhanced learning opportunities to help APS students reach their full potential.

Mark Burkhard of Southwest Capital Bank who serves as the Board’s Finance Chair said, “This is what we are here for, this is why we so carefully manage this money. We need to get this money out to the teachers and the district when they need it the most.”

Despite economic hardships, corporate partners and individual donors invested in our educators to support students. There was plenty of need for programs that addressed challenges old and new…but would APS employees apply for funding?

The answer was yes. Even without knowing how they would teach this past school year, educators knew they had to teach, and students had to be engaged to learn. The Foundation received nearly $1 million in requests! 

From classroom projects to clubs and activities to schoolwide and district initiatives, the Foundation’s Fall award winners were ready to get started and make adjustments when necessary. Many programs provided families with books to read at home and online, creating a sense of community.

Apache Elementary School received a Guhl Literacy Award for “One School One Book Using Early Literacy to Stomp Out Bullying at Apache.” Using literature to address social-emotional learning was an initiative meant to take place on campus, but that didn’t stop Michelle Waldrop and her staff from getting started and adjusting their plans for a remote learning environment!  Next year, the program will continue with lessons learned and new ideas!  Students coded with Micro:Bits from their homes this past year thanks to Flora Lewis at Los Ranchos Elementary School.  Much was learned and can be applied for in-person learning, which will benefit E.G. Ross Elementary School who is launching “Micro:Bits = Macro:Learning” led by Christy Snell. 

Katrina Wagner of Sandia National Laboratories serves as the Board’s Disbursement Chair. “It’s been exciting to lead the Disbursement Committee this year as we’ve seen some incredibly innovative funding requests come in during uncertain times,” she writes. “What stands out in my mind is how Lew Wallace Elementary utilized their funding to modify their Homework Diner to a virtual platform that continued to provide a healthy cook-at-home meal to engage families, homework assistance for students, and storytime after dinner. They even brushed their teeth together! I loved how they maintained connection as a school community when we all felt so far apart.”

Following the fall grant cycle, the spring grant cycle applications again proved how innovative and optimistic educators are across the district. In total, 79 programs and projects across the district received funding, totaling just over $316,500.

Jasy Shiparski of Technology Integration Group is the incoming APS Education Foundation Board President. She writes, “As we move farther and farther away from the year that was 2020, we are striving to reach more students and educators through all we do as a foundation. Increased funding of the many programs that we receive grants for will help us to reach that goal. The pandemic brought out a number of great and innovative ideas that our APS community is ready to get started…and I believe those great ideas will help improve future years for all of us.”  

Learn more about the grants of the APS Education Foundation