EEF Announces Fall 2021 Grant Awards

Official Press Release
November 4, 2021
Contact: Dana Fleming, Executive Director,  eef@eeflane.org, 541-790-7744

***For Immediate Release***

EEF Grants Over $144,000 to 4J Schools and District-Wide Programs in First of Two Rounds for 2021-22 School Year 

Eugene, OR – The Eugene Education Foundation’s Board of Directors is excited to announce the distribution of more than $144,000 in grants to schools and district programs that support social emotional learning and drive literacy, science, and other subject areas to help address challenges post- pandemic. This grant cycle is one of two EEF will offer to the district in an unusual year. The second round of applications will be reviewed and awarded in February 2022 in an effort to provide ongoing support to schools and the district.  An additional Urgent Needs application – created in response to families dealing with the impacts of Covid-19 – will have a rolling deadline throughout the year.  

For the past 28 years, EEF grants have brought much needed enrichment and access in 4J schools. During the past two unprecedented years of distance and hybrid learning, EEF met the need for rising inequities in our community by splitting the normal granting cycle into two separate cycles, allowing more access for teachers and staff.  EEF recognized that a comprehensive approach was needed again this year. 

The once-in-a-lifetime disruption in learning brought on by the pandemic has impacted students all over the world, including the 15,623 K-12 students in Eugene School District 4J.  Teachers and administrators made heroic efforts throughout distance and hybrid learning.  Now, as students have returned to classrooms for the first time in two years, the needs of our young learners have never been so great or diverse.  With the help of individual donors and corporate sponsors, EEF is able to help to meet those needs through grants to 4J classrooms and district level programs. 

“Our board was impressed with the variety of grants received this cycle,” said Dana Fleming, Executive Director of EEF. “We know that the 4J community is struggling, and that psychological and physical safety underpin student success.  Any way that we can help support students and staff as they reenter their classrooms is a win.” 

Grant proposals this year represented a broad spectrum of subject areas, including projects in literacy, science, math, adaptive supports, health and physical education, career technical education, and the arts.   Additionally, there was an increase in requests for projects that promote social emotional learning.  Grant awardee Mandy Brookshear, Edison Elementary Counselor, stated well why requests in this category have grown: 

“Students are coming to school overwhelmed and anxious. They have learned over the last 2 years that the world has changed.  Adults are much more stressed than they were, and unfortunately, that stress is weighing significantly on children. This is causing a mental health crisis throughout our youth. This crisis looks like social and emotional behaviors of concern, but it also looks like hyper-vigilance and perfectionism. There is not one student in our school that hasn’t been impacted by our current crisis and we need to methodically devote time, energy, and resources to address their needs!”

Examples of other grants include: Arts and Technology Academy’s Programmable Drones, which will provide the materials needed to build and operate drones in a new elective class at ATA; Buena Vista Elementary School’s Arte en Segundo Grado, through which students will hone their fine motor skills through a combination of painting, handwriting, and creative writing using the medium of watercolors; and North Eugene High School’s Library Nonfiction Renewal, that will allow Amary Taylor, NEHS Librarian, to fill gaps in content and perspective in NEHS’ nonfiction library collection.   “We are SO excited to receive this generous grant from EEF! School libraries are expected to offer reliable, trustworthy, and current informational nonfiction books for students who may be curious about the world around them, about technology, about historical people and events, and about society. Unfortunately, our nonfiction section has fallen short on this promise, and the funds we’ve received will help us to renew these valuable resources,” stated Taylor.  

In addition to awarding grants to each school, the Eugene Education Foundation also awarded six district-wide grants, including a grant that will fund the purchase of a 360-degree camera and related materials that will be available for use throughout the district for virtual tours and orientations, and other learning opportunities.  Another district level grant will allow students with moderate to severe disabilities to engage in a variety of outings in their local community.  

Since 1993, EEF has been the Foundation for 4J, connecting the generous support of donors, corporate sponsors, and school/parent partnerships with programs that create opportunities for equity, access, and engagement for 4J students.  Support from organizations like SELCO Community Credit Union, Thermo Fisher Scientific, Sunrise Asian Food Market, Pape’, Bigfoot Beverages, and Rowell Brokaw Architects, along with many other businesses and individuals, make it possible for EEF to support 4J with annual grants.  

Visit www.eeflane.org  to learn how to support EEF, and to help make learning happen.

For a complete list of grants awarded during the 2021-22 school year, visit this link.

Funding Categories:

EEF Annual {Virtual} Gala Update

On April 27, we hosted A Brighter Future: our first virtual event, which replaced our annual in-person gala. While we were nervous about the unknowns of hosting an event in a completely different way, we were confident that the community would still show up to support public education in Eugene, and you did!  To date, we have raised over $87,000, far surpassing our goal of $75,000!  

Throughout the live stream (which was so well emceed by Celeste Edman), we shared stories about how we helped make learning happen during a very challenging year.  We will be sharing those videos again, over the upcoming months, via emails and social media posts.  A link to the video featuring 4J Superintendent Cydney Vandercar’s gala address is included below.  

Also included below is what I refer to as EEF’s Honor Roll: lists of the organizations and individuals who helped us to surpass our event goal.  There is still time to add your name to the list!  Follow this link to help support a brighter future for 4J students.  Your donations help us to fill in the gaps through our annual grants, providing opportunities that keep students engaged and excited about learning.  We shine brighter together! 

Warmly, 

Dana Fleming
Executive Director

EEF Grants Over $120,000 to 4J Schools and District-Wide Programs

The Eugene Education Foundation’s Board of Directors is excited to announce the distribution of more than $120,000 in grants to schools and district programs in Eugene School District 4J throughout the 2020-2021 school year.

Since 1993, with the support of the community, EEF’s annual grants have brought much-needed enrichment and access to 4J schools.  During this year of distance learning, which presented many new challenges, EEF sought to address the unique needs arising in 4J by allowing for teachers and staff to apply for grants in two cycles: one in the fall of 2020, and one in January 2021. Additionally, a third application option was implemented for urgent needs, to be granted out quickly, and on a rolling basis, throughout the school year for unique requests that would support distance learning and student success in line with EEF’s priorities of equity, access, and enrichment.

Grant proposals submitted this year represented a broad spectrum of subject areas, including projects in literacy, science, math, career technical education, technology, arts, and music.  Examples of grants awarded include: Sheldon High School’s Social Justice Novels for Grade 10, which provides a copy of This is My America by local author Kim Johnson to 10th graders; Madison Middle School’s Building History, which uses LEGOs in an immersive Social Studies simulation of a variety of government types across the globe; and Twin Oaks Elementary’s Increasing Rigor and Supporting Literacy, which addresses reading gaps in upper elementary grades with new curriculum tailored to underserved students. Urgent Need Grants included: Edison Elementary’s Silence is Bliss, which provided students in unstable housing situations with noise-canceling headphones and dividers so they could better concentrate on their schoolwork, and Churchill High School’s Mechanics and Geometric/Physical Optic Take-Home Kits, which enabled students to perform hands-on science lessons in tandem with their teacher during distance learning.

In addition to awarding grants to schools, Eugene Education Foundation also funded five district-wide grants, including a grant that will pilot mental health support groups for both students and parents, a grant that allows students online access to high-interest books for all grade levels, and a grant that helped to facilitate PE in distance learning.

For the past 27 years, EEF has been the Foundation for 4J by generating support from generous donors, corporate sponsors, school/parent partnerships, as well as through an annual dinner event. This year, their event will be a virtual gala held on April 27th at 5:30 pm. To attend, donate, or find more information about A Brighter Future: EEF’s annual virtual gala, please visit: http://tinyurl.com/2021eefgala to learn more about this exciting event benefitting all 4J students.

Support from organizations like SELCO Community Credit Union, Thermo Fisher Scientific, Pape’, Bigfoot Beverages, and Rowell Brokaw Architects, along with many other businesses and individuals, make it possible for EEF to support 4J with annual grants.

Full List of 2020-2021 Grants Awarded by EEF

Eugene Education Foundation Announces Executive Director

The Board of Directors of the Eugene Education Foundation are excited to announce Dana Fleming as the organization’s Executive Director. Fleming brings incredible expertise, a passion for public education, and a deep knowledge of the organization. She joined EEF in 2015, most recently serving as Interim Executive Director. 

            In her new capacity as Executive Director, Fleming will provide leadership, direction, and vision for the Foundation, identifying private funding and strategic partnerships that will support EEF’s efforts to make a difference for every child and every school in the School District 4J. In a statement, Craig Smith, President of the EEF Board of Directors, praised Dana’s commitment and leadership: “Dana has been an incredible asset to EEF and to our community. Her passion and capacity will have a tremendously positive impact on our community’s contributions to our public schools.”

            Fleming has a strong connection to public education as a parent of four children who attended public schools, a teacher, a daughter of educators, and a product of public schools. Upon relocating to Oregon with her family in 2012, Fleming began to volunteer and advocate for 4J schools, serving as the head of fundraising for Adams Elementary School’s Parent Teacher Organization and Coordinator of PAR, Roosevelt Middle School’s parent organization. She is currently an active member of South Eugene High School’s Parent Council and is a member of the Strategy Team for the local chapter of Stand for Children. She also serves the community through her board positions on the Lane County Cultural Coalition and ArtCity Eugene. 

            Fleming earned a degree in Art History from Birmingham-Southern College in her home state of Alabama. She is excited to share her commitment to community engagement and her strong desire to make educational access and opportunities widely available to all students. 

            Please join the community in welcoming Fleming at Eugene Education Foundation’s Annual Dinner, on Tuesday, March 5, 5:30-8:00 pm, at the Ford Alumni Center on the University of Oregon campus.  For more information, or to purchase tickets to the Annual Dinner, visit EEF’s website at eeflane.org, or call 541.790.7744. 

Math+Fun+Data=Dreambox

When EEF has the opportunity to throw support behind an excellent program that will impact EVERY SINGLE student in Eugene School District 4J, we get really excited. That’s why I’m thrilled to share that this year, because of your support of EEF, we’ve had the opportunity to fund an incredible math program called DreamBox for every single kindergarten through 5th grade student in 4J!

We’re featuring an interview between EEF Executive Director Rebecca Sprinson and 4J K-12 Curriculum Administrator for Math and Science Sue Wilson, who is going to share why DreamBox is so fantastic.

Rebecca Sprinson: How has EEF helped expand access to DreamBox?

Sue Wilson: We are excited to share that every 4J K-5 student now has access to DreamBox both in school and at home. We were/are also usingDreamBox to support middle and high school intervention; however, the thought is that if we can better support students to not develop gaps during K-5 grades, we will decrease the need for intervention in the upper grades.  Additionally 6 of 8 middle schools have purchased seats, with Cal Young, Roosevelt, and Monroe providing seats for all 6th graders. Without EEF’s $22,500 in funding for DreamBox, we would not have been able to spread the program to all kindergarten through 5th grade classes!

RS: How does DreamBox work?

SW: DreamBox is an adaptive computer platform that provides online, interactive math lessons/tasks that are aligned to standards.  The lessons are student centered, and focused on building visual conceptual understanding, key components of our elementary math adoption.  Based on student data (success/non-success with the various lessons), it  responds by providing lessons at individual rates and levels.  It provides a game-like environment with age appropriate gameification.   Additionally, it is available entirely in both English and Spanish.  Beyond the adaptive engine, teachers are also able to assign lessons that are aligned to classroom content and based on their previous DreamBox performance. The platform encourages productive struggle (hard enough to challenge, but not so hard they shut down) and is responsive to their answers.  For this reason, adults are encouraged not to provide answers, but instead to help clarify directions and/or ask questions that ask students to describe their thinking.  In  just 3 15-20 min sessions a week, students are able to make considerable growth with their mathematics understanding.

RS: Why is DreamBox the best program for our students?

SW: This platform is standards aligned AND builds conceptual understanding through use of multiple representations and math manipulatives.  The data and lessons support teachers to pull small groups to support in class differentiation, even with a large number of students.  The program identifies gaps and adapts immediately, provides teachers with tools for setting and monitoring goals, and makes math accessible for all students.  In addition, TAG students and families have found that this product meets their needs as well, as it adapts to the current rate and level of students and provides lessons in further grade levels for each standard, rather than having to complete all of current grade before getting access to advanced concepts.

RS: Thanks, Sue!

SW: Thank you so much to all EEF donors who made this possible!

You Are the Rising Tide for Public Education!

0IMG_1190Wow. Wow. Wow! That’s all we can say.

On March 6, EEF donors helped raise over $100,000 for EEF’s enrichment programs and grants for every single school in Eugene School District 4J. It is only because of your generosity that we are able to make such a huge difference in the educational experience of our students. Thank you!

Many thanks to our wonderful speakers: Jeff Geiger, Dr. Gustavo Balderas, Mike Johnson, Peggy Blair, and student Marissa Rinen.

If you attended the event and made a gift, your donation receipt will come in a separate email, and we’ll send you a link to view photos as well!. Please let us know if you have any questions!

Thank you again for joining the rising tide for public education.