The Milwaukee Public Schools Foundation is raising money through donations, a telethon, and a free concert fundraiser for its new Classroom Support Fund. The fund will be used for supplies year-round for teachers and students at 25 MPS schools.
In its announcement, the foundation said the initiative comes in response to reports that more than 90 pecent of teachers pay for school supplies themselves.
Already, the foundation has received a significant gift toward the fund: $40,000 from Educators Credit Union.
The foundation said it is taking a transformative approach to classroom-supplies fundraising. The fund, modeled on the Madison Public Schools Foundation’s Teacher Support Network, aims to provide sustained, yearround assistance.
In its first year, the fund will provide 25 schools with funds for traditional and nontraditional materials, personal supplies, teacher grants, and other items necessary for teaching and learning.
Funding will be available for items such as books, headphones, calculators, and recess equipment. It also extends to students’ personal needs, such as soap, deodorant, hair products, feminine hygiene products, food, and clothing. The teacher grants are meant to enhance student learning and invest in teachers’ professional growth.
Donors can learn more about the new fund and contribute at mpsfdn.org/classroomsupportfund.
People also can help support the fund through two events in August. Jammin’ 98.3 will host a two-day telethon August 24-25; tune in to hear positive stories from MPS alumni and contribute. On August 25, a free concert by MPS alum Emmitt James and his 13-piece band will take place at Third Space Brewing, 1505 W. St. Paul Ave. The event, a fundraiser for the initiative, will run from 7:00-11:00 p.m. It kicks off with free barbecue by Daddy’s Soul Food and Grille, vendors and games, and will be capped by the concert.
The 25 schools receiving support in the fund’s inaugural year are:
• Academia de Lenguaje y Bellas Artes (ALBA)
• Audubon Technology and Communication High School
• Lloyd Barbee Montessori School
• Bay View High School
• Carver Academy of Mathematics and Science
• Congress School
• Doerfler School
• Engleburg School
• Benjamin Franklin School
• Lowell P. Goodrich School
• Greenfield Bilingual School
• James E. Groppi High School
• Hampton School
• Hawley Environmental School
• Hayes Bilingual School
• Hi-Mount Community School
• Humboldt Park School
• Byron Kilbourn School
• Rufus King International Middle School
• Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. School
• Richard Kluge School
• Rogers Street Academy
• Roosevelt Creative Arts Middle School
• Washington High School of Information Technology
• Westside Academy
John Kersey, Board President of the MPS Foundation, said, “Teachers are real-life heroes. At the MPS Foundation, we want to solidify this sentiment with concrete support. As educators in Milwaukee face shortages and burnout, we hope our effort can make a modest contribution to those in most need. We extend our gratitude to Educators Credit Union for their belief in this endeavor, and we hope their generosity ignites a spirit of giving in others.”
The foundation’s initiative is in partnership with Milwaukee Public Schools and EZ Office Products, the Madison-based office-supply company with a focus on sustainability. Through the partnership, teachers and schools will be able to shop online and have supplies delivered directly to their school throughout the year.
The Classroom Support Fund replaces the annual back-to-school No Empty Backpacks campaign, which was held by the MPS Foundation, the school district, and 88Nine Radio Milwaukee for seven years.