By LISA KLEIN
After its 20th year raising funds to purchase supplies for schools in the Santa Barbara, California area, the Village Properties Teacher’s Fund has surpassed $2 million in donations.
Founded in 2002 by the real estate firm’s owner, Renee Grubb, the fund’s focus is on the items teachers need for their students but often have to pay for themselves.
“At Village Properties, our focus is the local community,” said Brianna Johnson, an agent with the Santa Barbara-based firm and a director of the fund.
“Students are our future, and it is so important to ensure that they have the tools they need to thrive in the classroom,” she said. “The Teacher’s Fund is able to help teachers get the exact supplies they need to further the education of their students.”
Pay it forward
Ms. Grubb decided to start the Teacher’s Fund after she saw area teachers reaching for their own wallets to pay for school supplies.
Teachers are able to apply for supply grants of up to $1,000 or create a wish list of items that they are missing.
“Once a funding request has been approved, the teacher is notified and will be reimbursed for the item/items once they have purchased,” Ms. Johnson said. “They are funded within two weeks of their purchase of the item or supplies.
“Teacher’s Fund is primarily there to fund items the state or school district does not,” she said.
Requested supplies often include books, art supplies, dictionaries, rugs, reading materials, storage, and organizational tools and electronics.
Village Properties also covers all operating expenses for the fund so that 100 percent of the donations it receives can pay for requested items.
An annual supplies drive in September and October, now completing its fourth year, is a major fundraiser, bringing the community together to support its teachers.
Individuals contribute donations to purchase specific requests and local businesses get involved with larger sponsorships.
“It gives an insight into the classroom and Teacher’s Fund – seeing what types of supplies our teachers and students need to be successful,” Ms. Johnson said.
This year, the supplies drive raised $85,000-plus – more than $10,000 above the fund’s goal.
“The community has been incredible throughout the Teacher’s Fund’s lifetime,” Ms. Johnson said. “Together we have been able to donate over $2 million in the last 20 years to our local classrooms.”
Those funds have gone to teachers throughout the Santa Barbara school district, which currently has more than 13,000 students at 12 elementary schools, four junior high schools and five high schools.
“Teacher’s Fund receives many adorable thank-you cards, notes and artwork from recipients and their students,” Ms. Johnson said.
“Teachers are always so thankful to receive a grant from the Teacher’s Fund,” she said. “It helps them to enhance their students’ learning experience and allows them to keep their hard-earned money in their own pockets, too.”
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