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East Palo Alto Kids Foundation

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Education, Elementary & Secondary Schools, Literacy, Preschools, Primary & Elementary Schools, Secondary & High Schools

Mission: As a community-based non-profit organization, East Palo Alto Kid’s Foundation’s mission is to promote educational opportunities and academic success for East Palo Alto children by providing micro-grants to teachers and schools.  The needs addressed by EPAK grants are for materials and activities which would not otherwise be available to children living within the community served by the Ravenswood City School District, but which are identified by educators as being important to supporting students’ knowledge acquisition for meeting state standards.

Results: EPAK has given over $4 million to credentialed classroom teachers since its inception in 1993.

Target demographics: Low-income students (preK-12) in the Ravenswood area of East Palo Alto, California

Direct beneficiaries per year: approx. 220 teachers and 3,500 students

Geographic areas served: East Palo Alto and eastern Menlo Park, California

Programs: Educator Micro Grants which give teachers much needed funds to support academic opportunities in the classroom.

Community Stories

72 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

EPAK foundation allowed me to bring learning and joy to preschool children and their families. EPAK supported us with funds for purchasing some photo cameras for children. The cameras have been a great vehicle for exploration and learning in many areas. Children have learned science by collecting audiovisual data and observing changes in nature and light (e.g.: wet leaves after the rain; colors of the sky in sunset, and, shadows). They have discovered and noticed beautiful simple things around them and found ways to artistically portrait them (flowers, insects, pets around the neighborhood etc.)
With the use of the cameras, children have practiced self-regulation skills such as sharing and taking turns. They have also work collaboratively as children who have gain mastery are eager to teach their peers.
Finally, learning how to use the cameras have made children wonder new aspects of technology and privacy, skills that are critical to learn in the decade of social media.
I feel so grateful for EPAK support, as it not only contributed to children's learning but also inspired me as teacher!

1

Board Member

Rating: 5

I started as a volunteer with EPAK reading grants from teachers, and was so inspired by its mission that I decided to join the board. EPAK funds grants directly into the hands of teachers, allowing teachers to decide what works best for their classroom and students. From additional books, learning aids, or field trips, EPAK supports teachers in enriching the lives of their students in ways that otherwise may not have been possible. It is truly inspiring to see the work firsthand that EPAK does to support this community.

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

I taught for 7 years in the Ravenswood District. EPAK made an amazing impact on my students. I was given grants to provide students with books and hands on materials for math and science. I was also able to take students on field trips. These were experiences that my students only had because of EPAK. Please support this amazing organization. Their work makes a lasting impact on the lives of kids and their teachers.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been donating and volunteering with EPAK for several years. EPAK is a small local organization run by volunteers, so expenses are very low. Nearly every donation goes directly to classroom teachers for the "extras" that most of us would consider essentials in our public schools. The students often wouldn't have appropriate books and materials, or field trips, if not for EPAK grants. All teachers in all of the beneficiary schools are encouraged to apply for grants twice per year through an easy application process, and almost all of them are approved. It's a great cause, and a great way to make a direct impact on the students and teachers who need it.

Previous Stories

Volunteer

Rating: 5

The volunteers, including community members and school administrators, are dedicated and caring about improving the educational experience in EPA public schools. The teachers are creative in creating projects that will engage and advance their students' learning, and tailor their grant requests to specific needs each year. Great work!

1

Board Member

Rating: 5

caridad kenna



The East Palo Alto Kids Foundation aims to provide and financial help to enable the teachers and students in the area with learning materials and projects not readily available to them through their budget. In an area were other more affluent school districts have at their disposal more opportunities to enrich their curriculum and extracurricular activities, EPAK fills a very much needed gap. The teachers I met were fully dedicated to enrich the learning experience in and out of the classroom for their students. They were passionate about teaching and expanding the expectations of their students. Very impressive group of educators. I hold a Ph.D. from Stanford and taught Spanish at Stanford for many years and sincerely appreciate what EPAK is doing for the community and the future of its students. Both teachers and students benefit tremendously for the generosity of the community and supporters

1 Peter R.3

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I was introduced to EPAK over three years ago and, after learning more about its mission, decided to volunteer. What makes the organization so unique is the direct impact it has: EPAK funds critical classroom tools and resources that schools might otherwise not be able to afford, thereby improving the educational experience for students. Something else that stands out is the commitment and contribution of each of its board members -- refreshingly, there's no one on the board in name only. With continued state funding shortfalls and encroaching technology firms putting more financial strain on local families, EPAK's work is more important than ever.

2 Cris T.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

As a former reading teacher in Ravenswood, I appreciate the impact of EPAK. It allows both seasoned and new teachers to increase the quantity of books in their classroom library. There is a wide range of skill-levels in a class so it's important to have many books there. It is always exciting to hear a child say, "I love to read!"

2

Board Member

Rating: 5

This nonprofit puts dollars directly into the hands of creative, hard-working teachers. EPAK trusts that teachers know what's best for their students, and these small grants (up to $600, twice per year) fund everything from field trips to science lab materials to engaging reading materials to create a more enriching curriculum.

2 Erin118

Board Member

Rating: 5

As a teacher in East Palo Alto, I relied on my grant from the East Palo Alto Kids (EPAK) Foundation twice a year to take my students on learning adventures and create rich, engaging projects for them to grow with. Now, as a new board member, I look forward to seeing all the amazing ideas other teachers come up with that we can help support and ensure students in East Palo Alto have some of the same opportunities as their peers across the freeway. EPAK can help make that happen!

Previous Stories
1

Client Served

Rating: 5

Thanks to EPAK, I was always able to get projects funded to take my kids on amazing trips and give them the kind of education they deserved. In East Palo Alto, we are often left with minimal resources. With the grants in the fall and the spring, I was always able to do more for my students and provide materials we wouldn't otherwise have. It's an incredible program and our students are so lucky to have them for support

1 Nancy K.4

Client Served

Rating: 5

EPAK's twice-a-year grants for a wide variety of classroom and educational needs are every teacher's dream. EPAK's grant guidelines and application process are simple and clear and the whole process takes very little time. EPAK funds what teachers want, from supplemental curriculum to field trips. EPAK grants have enriched my classroom instruction, and my students' learning experiences.

Board Member

Rating: 5

I have been on the board now for several years and continue to be impressed with what the teachers are able to do with the two $600 grants that they receive each year -- if they apply for the grants. We just had EPAK Day in late May at East Palo Alto Charter School. The principal, a teacher, and a 4th grade student each spoke to the value of the grants at their school, and then student council members took donors and guests around the school to observe things bought with the grants. What a heart warming day it was to see donor's donations benefit and enrich the lives of these elementary school children.
Karen Ross

Board Member

Rating: 5

For 25 years, EPAK has been providing grants directly to teachers to enable them to offer the educational enrichment they believe will best serve their students. Teachers use the grants for field trips, books, supplies and learning aids. I joined the EPAK Board because I was inspired by its mission, its commitment to community and its operational efficiency - 95% of the money we raise goes directly to educators. EPAK makes the grants easy to apply for, the project reports streamlined for transparency so that educators can stay focused on impact rather than logistics. Empowering those on the frontline of education is an empathy-led model of giving that I hope to see spread across the country - Shafi Saxena, June 2018

Client Served

Rating: 5

At our school we have a limited fund for supplies in our classrooms. This grant has allowed me to get different chemicals, dissection equipment, and animals for dissection. This has given students the opportunity to learn science in a hands on and authentic way. Every year students look forward to dissecting in my class, without this grant it would not be possible.

As an educator, micro grants are an essential tool for me to teach at my finest. Without these grants I would not have the resources to give my students the education they deserve. Teachers always want to give more to their students and only so much of that can come out of our own pay check. If we did not have these funds I would not be able to use my own money for all the projects I have been able to do.

Overall, this Grant helps with a wide variety of teacher needs! It is the best grant I have applied for because of the streamlined application and ease of using the check and returning receipts.

1 Anthony79

Client Served

Rating: 5

I came to teach in East Palo Alto because I was interested in finishing my using my final years teaching before retirement in a place full of difference makers. The challenge is front and center in East Palo Alto and this foundation leverages the support it gives directly at the highest impact level - teachers. I was fortunate as a new teacher to receive an initial grant that allowed me to purchase some electronic devices and consumables and not take that out of my own pocket. Most recently I've been able to join forces with other teachers at my school site and use funds from another grant to bring Jazz in Democracy to campus. This is a program that leverages resources exponentially.

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

EPAK is a wonderful program that has helped me implement many new projects into my classroom. Last year, as a first year teacher, it was really hard to start the school year without supplies or the built up income yet to invest my own money. With the grant from EPAK I was able to purchase supplies for my students to use and books to stock our classroom library. This year I am using the grant to help improve my math instruction by ordering math manipulatives for students to explore, smartboard programs to interact with, and more! EPAK is so helpful!

1

Donor

Rating: 5

EPAK has provided to East Palo teachers a significant avenue to obtain funds for school needs, that otherwise would not be available.
E.g: Once it became known that tablet instruction was very helpful for children with learning challenges, a teacher would write a proposal to EPAK and explain the need, and request funds.
The allowable amount that a teacher could request covered the cost of a tablet. What a service to the kids in EPA.
The grant proposal process is quite simple and works well.
Many kudos to EPAK for providing support for needs that otherwise would not be met.

1 Michael400

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I did some light volunteer work for EPAK to help with newsletters. I'm so impressed with this incredible group of folks dedicated to improving classrooms and empowering teachers in the community. They are run efficiently so that nearly 100% of the proceeds donated go directly to the classroom.

1

Donor

Rating: 5

EPAK delivers on a very simple, yet effective concept of granting funds to teachers in the Ravenswood School District. These small grants go toward everyday items needed in their classrooms - books in a range of reading levels, calculators, notebooks, poster boards, etc. Basic school supplies - that are plentiful in most school districts - are not a given in E. Palo Alto and E. Menlo and EPAK fills that gap. EPAK grants have funded field trips that are often first-time experiences for many of these students.

Although I don't regret the time spent raising PTA funds for the well-supported schools that my kids attend , it is very gratifying to have found EPAK where the impact of my donations can make a clear difference. EPAK = Impact

1

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

There is something very special about EPAK . It is the only foundation of its kind. Not only do they give money to teachers and the very powerful projects that they design, but they literally give the funds to teachers directly. This trust and respect for the teacher as a grantor communicates an incredible amount of dignity and gratitude for the professional that is your East Palo Alto and eastern Menlo Park teacher. Providing funds directly to the teacher allows the teacher creative freedom to find the resources, often at the best deals in town and the flexibility to pay for it directly - eliminating wasted time and resources on bureaucratic red tape. They are also an incredible foundation that has recognized the needs of brand new teachers, by including the new teacher mini grants, to help set up their classrooms. There are no other foundations that I know of, funding the new teacher classroom setup. The consideration and respect paid to teachers by the EPAK Foundation is an inspiration. Nevermind that as a donor you can be confident that every single dollar will find it's way into the classroom with a top notch team of 100% volunteers running the EPAK organization, that is just icing on the cake.

1 Karen430

Board Member

Rating: 5

As a board member for EPAK, I read the descriptions of the how grants are used in the classroom. Those experiences are so enriching. Several examples at Los Robles Magnet Academy involve experiencing life on a farm --by visiting Lemo's Farm in Half Moon Bay where the children were able to feed goats, saddleback some ponies, pick pumpkins in the fields, and talk with farm hands learning how tractors and technology have changed much of farming practices today. In another class at the same school, through materials bought with grant monies, students were able to develop and practice their math skills more independently. Using Didax cubes helps them to blend letter sound into words. Using Touch Math helps them to learn how to identify numbers, and to add and subtract. Karen Ross