The Sioux Falls Public Schools Education Foundation (Education Foundation), the Huether Family Foundation (HFF), and the Sioux Falls School District (SFSD) shared highlights from the Student Success Fund and announced another $10,000 donation at a press conference on February 25, 2020.
For the last two years, the Education Foundation has been partnering with the HFF to meet students’ basic needs. Thanks to a generous $10,000 donation from the HFF, the Education Foundation launched the Student Success Fund in the fall of 2018.
Working with the Department of Student Services and the social workers, the Education Foundation started providing personal hygiene products, clothing for families fleeing domestic abuse, winter coats, boots, hats, mittens, laundry detergent, school supplies, undergarments, bus passes for high school students, and GED scholarships for high schoolers who want to take the test but cannot afford the exam fee.
There were a few surprises in the requests, too. Soon after the establishment of the Student Success Fund, social workers requested alarm clocks and batteries. They told Education Foundation staff that many children have parents who have to be to work by 5 a.m. There are elementary-age students who are responsible for not only getting themselves up and ready, but also younger siblings. Because the Education Foundation understands how important attendance is, the alarm clocks were an important investment for students.
In the fall of 2019, the Huether Family Foundation donated another $10,000. Since September of 2019, 25 schools have accessed the Student Success Fund. The goal of the program has always been to serve students who might otherwise fall through the cracks. There are great organizations doing work here in Sioux Falls, and the Student Success Fund is to support the kids whose families cannot access other resources.
In addition to their financial support, in October 2019, the HFF worked with Karl’s to install washers and dryers at three elementary schools (Garfield, Laura B. Anderson, and Terry Redlin). School staff can wash students’ shirts and pants during the day and then send them home in clean clothing; this has been especially helpful for students living in temporary housing with no access to laundry facilities. Part of this project also involved providing laundry detergent and dryer sheets for 400 loads at each of these three schools.
Through this public/private partnership, the Education Foundation has been able to fill gaps and serve students in all schools. The Student Success Fund has involved collaboration from the beginning. The Education Foundation and the HFF worked with educators who are the boots on the ground—the social workers who have relationships with the families. These staff members have visited student’s homes, and they understand the challenges these families face. The social workers are able to provide these items, especially personal hygiene products, while maintaining student dignity, privacy, and respect.
At the press conference, the Education Foundation announced a third $10,000 donation from the Huether Family Foundation. If interested in supporting the Student Success Fund, please visit https://sfpsef.kindful.com/