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.
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
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.
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.
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!
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.
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
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.
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
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.
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
Fantastic organization that truly has students' interests at heart. They make sure that teachers have what they need to provide their classes with materials and the opportunity to develop projects during the year.
I've been teaching in my school district for eleven years now and EPAK has been a tremendous help to me and the well-deserving students of our community. The generous donations have enabled me to create a wonderful and substantial library of books that are used year-after-year by our students. Now that Common Core is with us, I've been able to buy more non-fiction books in the recent years, using the EPAK grant monies, and it turns out that the kids absolutely love to read non-fiction. Thanks, EPAK for enriching the lives of everyone in our community.
In my 15 years as an educator, I have never seen anything like EPAK. They put money directly in the hands of teachers to create engaging and innovative projects that inspire students. I have been so impressed by their work that I joined the board. As a board member and as an administrator of a school that benefits from EPAK grants I can truly say that EPAK does some amazing things for the East Palo Alto community.
I have been teaching in East Palo Alto for 10 years and in that time, I have benefitted at least twice a year from this organization's generosity. I absolutely could not provide my students with the quality of instruction that they now receive without the materials purchased with EPAK grant money. We are able to take field trips because of EPAK. We have books to read because of EPAK. We have hands on materials to build our understanding of mathematical concepts because of EPAK. I could not be more grateful or appreciative of this wonderful organization. If you want to donate money to an organization that will put the funds directly into teachers' hands for exactly what they know their students need, this is the organization.
I've been teaching at Brentwood Elementary School in East Palo Alto, CA for ten years now.
I was first a classroom teacher and am now a reading teacher. I can't imagine what my experience would have been without the support of EPAK. My students have all the books they need, at the appropriate level, and in concert with national standards. Our students are English learners and, in many cases, don't have a rich literacy background when they begin learning with us. Beautiful books, with clearly illustrated vocabulary support, make all the difference in their educational experience.
The funds raised by EPAK go to the teachers who know exactly what additional resources they need to benefit their students. 94% of your donation goes directly to grants to teachers.
When I first began my career with Ravenswood School District, one of my first encounters was with East Palo Alto Kids Foundation. I was welcomed and told about the generous grant offers that are given to teachers to make the learning experience that much better for our students. I had already been in education for 14 years and had never experienced such generosity for the sake of our babies. They make asking for the grant such an easy process and ensure that it is meaningful for our children.
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!
When I was a new teacher in the Ravenswood district, I had no budget to set up my classroom and buy essential materials. My grant from EPAK helped me cover some of these costs and start the school year without paying too much out of my own pocket (which was greatly appreciated, given the salary of a new teacher in EPA).