Philly FUNDamentals Makes Donating to City Schools Easier
A new website from the Fund for the School District of Philadelphia aims to make donating quick, easy, and direct.
Want to give to Philadelphia’s cash-strapped schools, but don’t know where to start? The School District of Philadelphia just unveiled Philly FUNDamentals to help the city’s 220 schools get what they need from donors in a way that’s easier for everyone.
Low-income schools found that if they received any donations at all, it usually was not the things they needed most, from new air conditioning units to musical instruments, or even having the concrete paved to provide a safe place for children to play. The Philly FUNDamentals website, run by the Fund for the School District of Philadelphia, is a place where individuals, companies, or foundations can donate money or materials based on the individual needs of each school.
“The whole point around this really is to ensure that individuals who are interested in contributing to schools have a way that’s not too complicated in order to do that,” Superintendent William R. Hite said. “We wanted to find a way to match individuals who are interested in making donations to schools to what schools need it and to make it public for everyone who may have an interest what schools are focused on and working on.”
When you visit the website, the home page will show you a random selection of schools. But you can also filter schools, and sort them based on type, test scores, need, and low income percentage. The things schools need range from new textbooks to attendance incentive programs, and STEM resources to basketball hoops.
The website was designed to be user-friendly, so you can easily find a school and its wish list. It’s also designed to shed light on some of the amazing programs these schools are trying to strengthen. Even a quick glance at the schools’ wish list shows how simple things can make a difference in the educational experience for the thousands of children in the Philadelphia public school system.
Some examples: Gina Hubbard, principal at Joseph J. Greenberg Elementary, is hoping for donations for new whiteboard technology, lunchroom tables, and curtains for the school’s auditorium.
Children at the Overbrook Education Center with visual impairments need a safe place to play and learn, and the center’s leaders are hoping for more opportunities for field trips and educational tools for blind and visually-impaired children and their families.
The effects of these donations can be profound: Giving city schoolchildren the educational and enrichment tools they need can not just help their grades, but help to break the cycle of intergenerational poverty. The drive will also help level the playing field with better-funded suburban districts.
“The future of the region’s economy relies on a highly skilled and educated workforce,” Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney said. “Supporting the School District of Philadelphia, the state’s largest school district, creates employable individuals, particularly those faced with civil barriers.”
With a nearly 26 percent poverty rate in Philadelphia, a focus on rebuilding the public education system is crucial to the development of the city and surrounding area. By narrowing the immediate needs of local schools, students can feel like they have the chance to succeed that their needs are being met.
“Education has a direct effect on Philadelphia’s housing, economic development, public safety, and public health,” Kenney said. “It’s important that we are as resourceful and creative in our investments as possible in supporting every single student and every single school.”
Photograph via Canva.