A Chorus of Thanks From Bay Area Teachers

This Thanksgiving, we at PVF are thankful for the generosity of our donors, who make it possible to support educational enrichment within Bay Area public schools.

As a leader in grassroots philanthropy, we have streamlined the process of grantmaking by establishing immediate response grants, a concept which removes obstacles and celebrates simplicity by drastically reducing paperwork and instating fast turnaround times. Our Teacher Resource Grants are an example:  each fall PVF’s fax machine is inundated with a stream of requests ranging from field trips to art supplies to conservation projects.  Our donors make this possible.

The impact of these grants is conveyed in the many heartfelt thank you letters and pictures from teachers who have been awarded grants. Here is a selection of what we have received this fall:

Excursion Grant Program (funded by the Geballe Family):

Heidi Geiges, a 3rd grade teacher from Heather Elementary School in San Carlos, requested support to allow her students to learn about Native Americans.

“We want to thank you and The Geballe Family for the generous donation of $600 to Heather School. This grant afforded 90 3rd grade students the opportunity to participate in the hands-on Ohlone Program, ‘A Touch of the Earth’. The children were able to learn about the life of the Ohlone through hands-on activities including: acorn grinding, hunting, fire making, games, authentic clothing, songs and dance. The students also learned what the Ohlone Indians ate and how they made things such as tools, baskets, and jewelry. The children acquired a newfound sense of history and respect for these Bay Area natives.”

Mike Schneider, another 3rd grade teacher from Parkmont Elementary School in Fremont, asked for funding for a field trip to a local farm.

“What a fantastic trip to Ardenwood Farms! Our children got to experience what life was like on a farm. Students got to see a beautiful Victorian house called thePatterson House and learn all about their family. Students saw what life was like during the Gold Rush period and how the Patterson Family made their fortune. Part of what they saw what a blacksmith, old toys, old fashion kitchen equipment, animals, crops, shelling, and numerous other parts of how a farm was operated. Thank you to the Excursion Grant Program, especially the Geballe Family, for making this happen.”

Donna Hong, a 5th grade teacher from Panorama School in Daly City, requested funding for her students to experience the Chabot Space Center’s Challenger Learning Center: Voyage to Mars.

“My students just returned from a trip to Mars via the Chabot Space and Science Center’s Challenger Learning Center Mars Missions. The students were able to visit the science center and experience exciting hands-on experiments and also got a chance to see an observatory with state of the art telescopes! The highlight of the day was their Mars Mission at the Challenger Learning Center. Here the students spent two hours splitting their time between Mars Mission Control and a Space Station stationed on Mars. The Space Station ran into a meteor shower, dust storm and at one point the station filled with smoke and had only 3 minutes of oxygen left to use! Students all worked together to work out all of those problems and have a successful trip.”

Arts Resource Grant Program (funded by the Westly Foundation):

Lena Allen, an art teacher from Brentwood Academy in East Palo Alto, asked for support to purchase art supplies for the entire elementary school.

“Thank you for your generous donation to our school. With the money we received, we were able to buy:

  • 3 videos on famous artists including Lichtenstein, Warhol, Cezanne, Seurat, and Close
  • 4 coloring books to learn about our famous artists and art styles
  • 2 warm up activity books that help us learn about art history and how to creatively think in different ways
  • 3 DVD’s about the elements of art and how we can recognize them and use them in our own artwork
  • 2 sets of instructional artist posters that help us learn about different artists and why they chose to do art

Having these unique, but crucial visual aids will help our students in fostering a better understanding of art, art history, and artists. A variety of ways to see and understand different concepts is essential in the learning process, creating interest and motivation to learn something new.”

Artist in the Classroom Grant Program (funded by the Geballe Family):

Cathy Estell, from Sequoia Elementary in Oakland, requested support to bring an artist to the school to help students construct small aquariums.

 “Thank you for being an important partner in public education. Your generous donation to our classroom was greatly appreciated. Each child was impacted by the art in the classroom project. The children were able to make blown glass vases/aquariums. There is no way that the children would have had the rich experience of having an artist come into the classroom without this grant. We find that this project was stimulating for English language learners as well as others. It also helped develop the imagination and critical thinking, and refines cognitive and creative skills…we were able to also nurture important values, such as team-building skills; respecting alternative viewpoints; and appreciating and being aware of different cultures and traditions. We just can’t thank you enough!”

Ian Licata, from Pilarcitos High School in Half Moon Bay, applied for support to bring in an artist to help his students construct art books.

“On behalf of my students at Pilarcitos Alternative High School, we would like to thank you and the Geballe Family wholeheartedly for your donations to help bring an artist to our classroom for the Fall and Spring semesters this year. We are thrilled to have local artist and former Pilarcitos graduate, Michael Denning, return to Pilarcitos to head up our art program on Fridays. This semester your funding is paying for art supplies (pens, art paper, printing, paints) to help our students make art books about their lives. The students are working with Mr. Denning on different drawing techniques, collage, photography, poetry, and painting, and by the end of the semester they will complete their art book and have it printed and bound. We really appreciate the support in helping sustain this excellent addition to our curriculum at Pilarcitos.”

PVF would like to extend a warm thank you to all of our generous donors who make these resources available to educators. We are grateful for your continued support!

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About venturesfoundation

Founder and CEO of Philanthropic Ventures Foundation
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