A $250,000 donation to the Sioux Falls Public Schools Education Foundation will enhance the organization’s programs for the students and staff in the Sioux Falls School District. Local philanthropist Mr. Denny Sanford made the donation. The gift will support four programs: Public School Proud Grants, First Time Teacher Grants, the Student Success Fund, and the Education Foundation’s endowment.
With this donation, $100,000 will be used for Public School Proud Grants. Any teacher in the district can apply for up to $10,000 a year to purchase creative and inventive materials that give students hands-on, immersive opportunities. Educators have used grant funds to purchase 3D printers, musical instruments, robots, garden grow kits, art supplies, yoga mats, drones, sensory paths, virtual reality headsets, cardio drumming equipment, games for English language learners, and more. During the 2020-2021 school year, the Education Foundation awarded $108,000 through this program. Educators at the elementary, middle, and high school level have received funds.
An additional $50,000 will be used to support First Time Teacher Grants. All first-time, first-year teachers receive a $200 grant from the Education Foundation. They have purchased bulletin board materials, posters, organization kits, classroom sets of books, name tags, dry erase markers, flexible seating, and snacks for students. At the start of the 2021-2022 school year, the Education Foundation awarded 79 First Time Teacher Grants.
The final $100,000 will be split evenly between the Student Success Fund and the Education Foundation’s endowment. Through the Student Success Fund, school-based social workers connect families living in crisis with personal hygiene products, emergency food assistance, winter clothing, bed bug cream and lice shampoo, laundry detergent, footwear, and school supplies. The Education Foundation also provides city bus passes to high schoolers who lack reliable transportation and GED scholarships to students who cannot afford the fees. The remaining $50,000 will enhance the Education Foundation’s endowment that is managed by the Sioux Falls Area Community Foundation. With this gift, the endowment balance is $610,000.