Bright Future for Oakland Students: 10,000 Backpacks Donated for First Day of School & First Total Solar Eclipse Since 1979


[August 21, 2017] Oakland, California – Kicking off the school year with bright smiles and special sunglasses, Mayor Libby Schaaf, Oakland Unified School District Superintendent Kyla Johnson-Trammell, Kaiser Permanente Chairman and CEO Bernard J. Tyson and several other local leaders collaborated with the nonprofit organization SupplyBank.Org (formerly K to College) to distribute new backpacks and school supply kits to 500 kids at Martin Luther King, Jr. Elementary. Witnessing the natural phenomenon of the first total solar eclipse visible in the U.S. since 1979, students sported solar eclipse glasses also donated by SupplyBank.Org for a memorable science lesson.

This event was the formal kickoff for a citywide distribution of school supplies to 10,000 low-income OUSD students. Led by SupplyBank.Org, this partnership also includes the Oakland Unified School District, the City of Oakland, Kaiser Permanente, Give Something Back Office Supplies, several other businesses, the Lend A Hand Foundation and the Oakland Public Education Fund.

Supporting this effort from its inception, Kaiser Permanente has been a key partner in efforts to address the unmet material needs of low-income children. “Helping our communities thrive is fundamental to what Kaiser Permanente stands for,” said Chairman and CEO Bernard J. Tyson. “It’s important we partner with community organizations to understand and meet the basic needs of families in our communities. No child should have to go without quality school supplies that help jump-start the year, and I am proud Kaiser Permanente is part of this worthy effort.”
“The start of school is always exciting for students. But learning can be significantly more challenging for young people who don’t have the necessary supplies. This giveaway of backpacks and school supplies will go a long way toward making sure our students are ready to succeed in the classroom. We thank SupplyBank.org, Kaiser Permanente, the Lend a Hand Foundation, the Oakland Ed Fund, the City of Oakland and all other donors who are helping to ensure the 2017-18 school year is great for all OUSD students.”

While this effort is modeled after similar programs in San Francisco and Berkeley, the need in Oakland much more profound – 74% of OUSD students are enrolled in a subsidized meal program, which has poverty as the main criterion to qualify. At Martin Luther King, Jr. Elementary, 94% of students are enrolled in a subsidized meal program.

This year’s collaboration is particularly special – for the first time in recent memory, both the Superintendent and Mayor are Oakland natives. “By joining forces with the school district, the business community, SupplyBank.Org and other community organizations, we are ensuring that every student has the tools they need to be successful,” said Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf, who is also a proud alumna of Oakland public schools. “These types of partnerships are one of the many examples of Oakland’s diverse communities prioritizing our City’s youth and future.”
A statewide organization following the business model of food banks, SupplyBank.Org says this partnership is an example of how its “supply bank” model can solve the unmet basic material needs of low-income people. “This program is an excellent example of how government, the non-profit and for-profit sectors can collaborate to solve social problems,” said Benito Delgado-Olson, Executive Director and Founder of SupplyBank.Org. “It also aligns with our principle of addressing basic needs through institutions and programs that provide pathways to self-sufficiency.” SupplyBank.Org integrates its programs into the services provided by more than 350 partnering agencies across the state, including school districts in every county.

SupplyBank.Org and their partners also stress the need for early planning to competitively source products, build a broad donor base and solicit in-kind contributions. This year’s partnership in Oakland will provide more than 10,000 students throughout the City with backpacks and school supplies worth more than $300,000.

Also attending today’s event were hundreds of happy kids, several local public officials, and representatives of the Lend A Hand Foundation and the Oakland Public Education Fund. Contributors to this effort included Kaiser Permanente, Give Something Back Office Supplies, the Oakland Unified School District, SupplyBank.Org, the Lend A Hand Foundation and the Oakland Public Education Fund. Anyone interested in supporting the program is encouraged to contact SupplyBank.Org.
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About Kaiser Permanente: Founded in 1945, Kaiser Permanente has a mission to provide high-quality, affordable health care services and to improve the health of our members and the communities we serve. Learn about our history, how our approach to health care started, and how it continues to this day at www.kaiserpermanente.org.

About SupplyBank.Org: SupplyBank.Org (formerly K to College), was founded in 2008 by Benito Delgado-Olson and several of his UC Berkeley colleagues and alumni as a nonprofit public benefit corporation that models the approach of food banks to address unmet material needs. By leveraging public and private partnerships and economies of scale, SupplyBank.Org can produce up to a three dollar benefit for every dollar invested. The organization’s mission is to efficiently address the unmet material needs of homeless and low-income children, youth and adults working towards self-sufficiency. In the past 5 years, SupplyBank.Org has donated more than $25 million worth of materials to more than 500,000 children and families across California. For more information, visit www.supplybank.org.

About Give Something Back Office Supplies: Give Something Back Office Supplies is California’s largest independent office supply company. Over the past 24 years, Give Something Back has donated over $6 million dollars in profits back to amazing nonprofits across the Western region while offering competitive prices and superior service. For more information, visit www.givesomethingback.com.

About Lend A Hand Foundation: Founded in 1997, LAHF represents the commitment of its founders and the Board of Directors to improve the life of children, youth and their families. LAHF has served the community for 19 years and even though charitable giving is sometimes considerably low, LAHF continues to strive to make sure it reaches as many youth as possible by lending a hand. The Foundation has provided over 58,000 backpacks and supplies through its Annual Back to School Giveaway program (August) and through its Annual Holiday Celebration (December) and other services which has touched the lives of over 5,000 youth and their families on a yearly basis. For more information, visit www.lendahandfoundation.org.

About Oakland Public Education Fund: The Oakland Public Education Fund (the Ed Fund) is a registered 501(c)(3) non-profit founded in 2003 by a group of Oakland principals and community leaders. The Ed Fund’s mission is to lead the development and investment of community resources in Oakland public schools so that all students can learn, grow, and thrive. The Ed Fund has helped schools raise more than $25 million for essential programs since 2003, supporting schools and OUSD to build new partnerships along the way. Through our communications work, we’ve consistently championed Oakland schools to shift the narrative about public education in Oakland. For more information, visit www.oaklandedfund.org.

About Oakland Unified School District: The mission of Oakland Unified School District (OUSD) is to build a Full Service Community District focused on high academic achievement while serving the whole child, eliminating inequity, and providing each child with excellent teachers, every day. OUSD’s vision is that all students will find joy in their academic experience while graduating with the skills to ensure they are caring, competent, fully-informed, critical thinkers who are prepared for college, career, and community success. With approximately 48,000 public school students, 37,000 in district-run public schools and 11,000 in charter schools, OUSD is the 12th largest district in the State of California. With a half billion dollar budget and over 4,700 employees, making it the second largest employer in the City of Oakland, OUSD is also a major economic driver, while fulfilling its educational mission with some of the most ambitious, innovative, and award-winning educational programming of any public school district in the country. For more information, visit www.ousd.org.