“If we hope to reach the goals we’ve set for our students, we must build strategic relationships to improve their quality of life,” said Antwan Wilson, Superintendent of OUSD. “This Back to School effort by K to College, Lend a Hand, the Public Ed Fund, the City of Oakland, and all other contributors is a testament to the spirit of working together to realize our OUSD mission as a full-service community school district and our vision where every student thrives.”
While this effort is modeled after similar programs in San Francisco and Berkeley, the need is much more profound in Oakland. 73% of OUSD students are enrolled in a subsidized meal program. To qualify for the free lunch program a student’s family must earn below 130% of the federal poverty line (about $31,000/year for a family of 4); to qualify for the reduced-price lunch program the cutoff is 185% of the poverty line (or about $45,000/year for a family of 4). Franklin Elementary, a hub for refugee and newcomer students, has more than 83% subsidized lunch enrollment.
“By joining forces with the school district, the business community, K to College and other community organizations, we are ensuring that every student has the tools they need to be successful,” said Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf. “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, K to College’s supporters say the partnership is an example of how its “supply bank” model can solve the unmet basic material needs of low-income kids. “This program is an excellent example of how government, the non-profit and for-profit sectors can collaborate to solve social problems,” said Mike Hannigan, President of Give Something Back Office Supplies and an Advisory Board member of K to College. “From day one we have partnered with K to College because this program fits perfectly into our business model of giving back, but more importantly follows the proven approach of food banks which in part take a long-term approach to leverage as many resources as possible.” K to College and their partners also stress the need for early planning to competitively source products, build a broad donor base and solicit in-kind contributions.
Modeled after similar successful programs operated by K to College in San Francisco, Berkeley, and other districts throughout the state, this partnership will provide more than 11,000 students throughout the City will receive backpacks and school supplies, with the goal of reaching. Also attending today’s event were hundreds of happy kids, Councilmember Abel Guillen, Councilmember Annie Cambell Washington, OUSD Board of Education Director Aimee Eng, the Office of Congresswoman Barbara Lee, and representatives of the Lend A Hand Foundation, Oakland Public Education Fund, Oaklandish and Know Yourself.
Contributors to this effort included Kaiser Permanente, Target, Give Something Back Office Supplies, the Oakland Unified School District, K to College, the Lend A Hand Foundation and the Oakland Public Education Fund. This fall’s distribution will include more than $300,000 worth of materials. Anyone interested in supporting the program is encouraged to contact K to College.
About Kaiser Permanente: For more than 60 years, Kaiser Permanente has provided quality health care. Learn about our history, how our approach to health care started, and how it continues to this day at www.kaiserpermanente.org.
About Target: Founded in 1902, Target strives to be the preferred shopping destination for its guests by delivering outstanding value, continuous innovation and an exceptional guest experience by consistently fulfilling the Expect More. Pay Less.® brand promise. For more information, visit www.target.com.
About K to College: K to College, founded in 2008 by a group of UC Berkeley students and alumni, is a nonprofit public benefit corporation that models the approach of food banks to address the unmet material needs of homeless and other low-income kids, serving tens of thousands of disadvantaged kids each year. By leveraging public and private partnerships and economies of scale, the program can produce up to a three dollar benefit for every dollar invested. The organization’s vision is to ensure that all children have the basic materials they need to develop, learn and thrive. From 2010-2015, K to College has distributed more than $20,500,000 of grade-appropriate school and dental supply kits to more than 350,000 students throughout California. In an effort to target public school students identified as homeless and others enrolled in the subsidized lunch program, K to College partners directly with school districts to help mass distribute supplies and reach those most in need. For more information, visit www.ktocollege.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 & Franklin Elementary: 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. For more about Franklin Elementary, please visit www.ousd.org/franklin.
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Thank You to Our Partners