DC Education Equity Fund raises $1.1 million to support distance learning

Yesterday was the first day for distance learning for D.C.’s traditional schools. It also marked an announcement by Mayor Muriel Bowser that Education Forward DC, in collaboration with the DC Public Education Fund, has created at the Greater Washington Community Foundation the DC Education Equity Fund. The goals of the fund are:

  • Ensuring students’ basic needs are being met so they are ready to learn
  • Providing students with internet and device access
  • Support for students to have a successful transition when school buildings reopen with additional learning resources

The Education Equity Fund’s website states that “Education Forward DC will pay for all donation processing costs so that 100% of funds raised will go to organizations directly serving DC students and families.”

Ms. Bowser revealed that $1.1 million dollars have already been raised in this effort. The money will support all public school students including those enrolled in charters and DCPS. The public can contribute to the fund here. Below are some examples of what the donations can do:

  • $50 buys a wifi hotspot for a family without internet connectivity
  • $250 buys a device—a Chromebook, for example—for a student in need
  • $5,000 buys a classroom set of devices for students

Contributors include:

  • A. James and Alice B. Clark Foundation
  • CityBridge Education
  • CityBridge Foundation
  • The City Fund
  • Terry and Lindsay Eakin
  • Education Forward DC
  • The Lois and Richard England Family Foundation
  • The Andrew and Julie Klingenstein Family Fund
  • Joseph E. Robert Jr. Charitable Trust, G. David Fensterheim, Trustee

All are heroes. As the Mayor remarked on Tuesday:

“We are grateful for everyone in our community who is stepping up during these unprecedented times – students, families, and community partners. We will be learning together, and we will get through this together.”

Yes we will. Again, from the new organization’s website:

“The District and the nation are facing unprecedented challenges due to the current public health emergency. Public schools in the District of Columbia have transitioned to a modified operating status to support the District’s efforts to mitigate the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19). Beginning Tuesday, March 24, schools launched distance learning; during this time, students will learn from a combination of online lessons, printed materials, and virtual check-ins with teachers.

While distance learning is new for most families, for many in our community it also means immediate challenges to ensure digital equity. Today, there is an urgent need to ensure that all DC students – especially those furthest from opportunity – are provided the resources and support they need to continue their education.”

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