K to College partners with Oakland USD, City, and Business Leaders to make Back-to-School Supply Crunch a Thing of the Past

OAKLAND, CA [January 5, 2016] Oakland Unified School District (OUSD) Superintendent Antwan Wilson, other local leaders, and Kaiser Permanente teamed up with the nonprofit organization K to College to provide $65 school supply kits to all 370 kids at Allendale Elementary School in Oakland. The event was the kickoff of a new districtwide partnership between the Oakland Unified School District (OUSD), city leaders, the business community, and a group of nonprofit organizations led by K to College.

The goal of the partnership, which is modeled after similar successful programs operated by K to College in San Francisco and Berkeley, is to sustainably provide comprehensive school supply kits, backpacks, hygiene items and other materials to all OUSD students in need. It will initially reach 10,000 students in dozens of schools throughout the City in the fall of 2016 with the goal of covering all Title One schools and other low-income students by 2017. Also attending today’s event were hundreds of happy kids, Councilmember Annie Campbell Washington, School Board Director Nina Senn, Office of Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf, Office of Congresswoman Barbara Lee, and representatives of the Lend A Hand Foundation and Oakland Public Education Fund.

“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. “By donating critical school supplies to Oakland students, K to College, Kaiser Permanente and all other contributors to this effort exemplify the kind of community partnership needed to realize our OUSD mission as a full-service community school district and our vision where every student thrives.”

While the program 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). About 90% of Allendale’s student population qualifies for the meal program.

Oakland Board of Education Vice President Nina Senn, who also represents District 4, which includes Allendale, had this to say: “This collaboration reflects the real essence of an Oakland-grown community working together to serve the best interests of every child from the very first day of school. Leading public and non-profit agencies across the city have joined forces to create the possibility that every child can start school with a backpack filled with school supplies.”

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.

Early contributors to this effort include Kaiser Permanente, Give Something Back Office Supplies, the Oakland Unified School District, K to College, the Lend A Hand Foundation and the Oakland Public Education Fund. K to College says the initial 2016 distribution will include more than $600,000 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 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  18 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 53,000 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 & Allendale 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 Allendale Elementary, Home of the Tigers, please visit http://www.ousd.org/allendale.