Before they can thrive in the classroom, students need basics like appropriate clothes, shoes, eyeglasses, medical treatment, and food. In tough economic times, emergency funding helps meet these most basic needs.
The Patterson Foundation worked with the Community Foundation of Sarasota County to meet one-time emergency funding needs for students in Sarasota County, Florida, through the Student Emergency Fund. Using the fund helped eliminate barriers that keep students from learning and engaging in the classroom. In addition to funding the current needs, The Patterson Foundation offered a matching challenge that resulted in a $600,000 endowment to assist children in future years. The Sarasota County Schools District provides program implementation.
Why did The Patterson Foundation support this initiative?
Recognizing that economic downturns can put even the most prepared citizens in peril, The Patterson Foundation provided support to help alleviate the impact of these crises. Sarasota is known for its relative wealth; however, an alarming nearly half of Sarasota County public school system students qualified for free or reduced lunch at the time of this initiative.
What is the purpose of the Student Emergency Fund?
The Student Emergency Fund provided one-time, last-resort funding for students in need, helping to properly prepare and equip them for a positive classroom experience by reducing embarrassment. On a daily basis, teacher and staff had been dipping into their own pockets to supply emergency needs of their students because they know that students can focus on learning when they are not dealing with or embarrassed by a lack of medical care or basic necessities.
Student safety nets are available for longer-term challenges, but teachers, cafeteria workers, bus drivers, and other school staff members had become the last-resort funding source for student emergencies. This added dimension distracted staff from their primary roles. This project created an opportunity for generous citizens to support students.
What do the emergency funds pay for?
The program pays for clothing and personal items; one-time medical and/or dental treatment and medicine for urgent treatment; one-time vision care; urgent or short-term transportation; medicated shampoo; food for students and families in one-time urgent situations; and school supplies — if all other resources have been exhausted.
What is the Student Emergency Fund Endowment?
Administered by the Community Foundation of Sarasota County, a matching challenge from The Patterson Foundation resulted in a $600,000 endowment to assist children in future years.
Who can I contact about the Student Emergency Fund initiative?
For more information about this past initiative, contact initiative consultant Michael Corley: firstname.lastname@example.org