SAN JOSE, CA (October 12, 2011) – K to College, a non-profit organization that operates the largest free school and dental supply program for impoverished students in California, today convened more than 60 school districts to build a Bay Area initiative with the goal of providing school supplies to more than 400,000 low-income students.
This fall, K to College will start this effort by providing every homeless student in the nine-county Bay Area and every student at select schools with $65-70 grade-appropriate school supply kits—a total value of more than $1,500,000 to 25,000 students.
Initiated by a series of emergency grants in 2010, K to College has distributed more than 200,000 school supply and dental kits to students across 26 California school districts, primarily in the Bay Area. Through several favorable partnerships with public and private entities, K to College can provide one supply kit worth approximately $65-70 at a cost of only $22. The supply packages contain items such as paper, pencils, erasers, folders, glue sticks, index cards, a dental hygiene kit and a tote bag.
“This program is an excellent example of how the non-profit and for-profit sectors can collaborate to solve social problems,” said Mike Hannigan, President and cofounder of Give Something Back Office Supplies, one of K to College’s corporate partners.
K to College is the brainchild of UC Berkeley alum and current Executive Director Benito Delgado-Olson, who started the non-profit as a senior in 2007. In its first year, Delgado-Olson and K to College’s other student organizers were able to fund 300 kits, which grew to more than 26,000 in its second year. “Our goal was to build an efficient business model to solve the material resource gap prevalent in public education,” said Delgado-Olson. “Now that we have a proven plan for success, we want to grow to help thousands more children in need.”
“At a time when funding for our schools is historically low, K to College offers a solution to a basic but critical need of every student— the instructional materials necessary to learn,” said Santa Clara County Office of Education Superintendent Charles Weis, one of seven county superintendents that sponsored Wednesday’s Bay Area Conference of Administrators. “The partnership between K to College and our school districts ensures that important materials and benefits go to the students who need them the most.”
K to College’s goal of serving every needy student throughout California has helped the organization assemble an impressive coalition of supporters, including State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson, the California Teachers Association, the California State PTA, the California Dental Association, and more than 80 Bay Area Superintendents.
“One of the greatest strengths of the K to College organization is their recognition that there is a need in every community,” said Tim Sbranti, Mayor of Dublin and member of K to College’s Board of Directors. “As a teacher and mayor of a suburban city, I know it is often challenging to reach the scattered few in need, but K to College meets this challenge by partnering directly with our school district to provide every needy student with the basic, but crucial materials for success.”
With Governor Brown’s recent signing of SB 608 (authored by Senator Mark DeSaulnier), K to College will continue to partner with the California Prison Industry Authority to assemble school supply kits as part of a larger rehabilitation program. The partnership gives K to College the capacity to serve not only Bay Area students, but hundreds of thousands of students throughout the state.