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West Contra Costa teacher Gratitude Grants delivered electronically

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  • Over 800 public school teachers received individual $250 grants 
  • Purchases can be used to adapt to ‘distance learning’ requirements
  • Annual event for teachers postponed until shelter-in-place lifted

A record number of Gratitude Grants are helping West Contra Costa public school teachers adapt to the challenges of ‘distance learning’ required by school closures.

For the first time, the Chamberlin Family Foundation delivered most of the 847 individual grants to TK-12 public school teachers electronically this Spring as they close out the academic year teaching remotely due the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Teachers typically use the $250 grants to purchase additional supplies and learning materials for students in classrooms. This year, CFF has encouraged teachers to acquire any supplemental materials that help them better engage students online and deliver an adapted curriculum through the remainder of the spring semester. 

The foundation postponed its annual Gratitude Grants celebration until local and state officials lift the shelter-in-place order and determine it safe to hold mass gatherings. The event typically draws more than 200 teachers to collect their Gratitude Grant in person and celebrate the year with colleagues and community members. 

Since 2015, more than 2,700 Gratitude Grants totaling over $660,000 have helped West Contra Costa teachers to supplement their classroom materials. This year’s Gratitude Grants awards reached 30% more teachers than the previous year, becoming the largest teacher grant cycle since the program’s launch. 

The CFF team created Gratitude Grants to celebrate teachers’ hard work while recognizing that they frequently spend their own money to supplement the learning materials they use in their classrooms. A 2018 survey from the US Department of Education reported that, on average, public school teachers spend nearly $500 per year of their own money on additional materials and tools for their students. 

“We created Gratitude Grants because we know that teachers are the most important factor in the quality of a student’s education. We appreciate that teachers regularly go the extra mile for the kids in their classrooms.” 

 Minnie Setty, Chief Program Officer, Chamberlin Family Foundation

Founded in 2006, the Chamberlin Family Foundation focuses its grantmaking on local TK-12 public schools that serve high-need students, programs that support teachers and school leaders, and on community advocacy aimed to improve public schools for all West Contra Costa students.

Next year’s Gratitude Grants applications will be available in early 2021.

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