To say this past school year has been challenging one is definitely an understatement. Yet, throughout all the unexpected obstacles teachers, students and families have navigated, one thing has remained constant — the Dollars4Schools program of the Santa Fe Community Foundation.
Dollars4Schools has remained available to support public education in Santa Fe, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
The effort is a trusted local funding resource for Santa Fe Public Schools teachers, providing direct support for their classroom programs through an easy-to-use web platform. From school supplies and books to science kits, warm winter coats and everything in between, the program has proudly funded over 950 classroom requests since 2013.
The brainchild of longtime Santa Feans Michael and Pat French, Dollars4Schools is a local program focused on public education in Santa Fe. The idea came to them after enrolling their children in public school. As they became more involved with the school and their kids’ learning journey, they quickly noticed the gaps in funding for classroom projects and the continued need for teacher support beyond what the district or the school could provide.
In response, they created Dollars4Schools in 2010. Since 2013, the Santa Fe Community Foundation has housed and managed the program and its unique platform that invites every citizen to contribute to the rich and dynamic programming offered in classrooms.
Dollars4Schools’ unique web-based structure enables donors and provides them the opportunity to invest in projects in areas of their choosing, with a level of funding that works for them. Donations range from $10 to thousands of dollars, and 100 percent of all donations goes directly to the classrooms without any administrative fees. The community foundation unwrites the administrative costs.
When news of the pandemic and the impending shutdown was first announced, no one knew how long it would last nor how the schools would be affected. Thanks to its resources, Dollars4Schools was able to quickly pivot by working closely with teachers to identify new and emerging needs. As a result, in the last year, the platform has funded everything from art supplies and science kits to use at home, to virtual field trips and school gardens. It also sponsored the Superintendent’s Challenge, the first districtwide student engagement effort, aimed at motivating students and fostering creativity during the early months of the pandemic.
Now that teachers and students are returning to in-person instruction, Dollars for Schools will continue to meet the evolving needs as teachers identify ways to support their students in these final weeks of the school year. This phase is critical to both our teachers and students. Additional support will not only prepare students for the next school year, but also will ensure the necessary tools to address learning loss and gaps will be provided.
Donations to Dollars4Schools are accepted through its website, as well as at the Santa Fe Community Foundation. Gifts can be made to support the program in general, or to fund specific classroom requests, areas of instruction, or individual schools.
At Dollars4Schools, great things happen when we work together.