Pasadena Community Foundation is honored to learn that it has been selected as the recipient of the 2021 Superintendent’s Award from Pasadena Unified School District (PUSD), an annual award that recognizes organizations or individuals that go above and beyond the normal expectations in supporting PUSD’s students and schools.
The award holds special meaning this year, as Superintendent of Schools Brian McDonald, Ed.D., noted during the recent 2021 All-Staff Welcome Back Event, during which the award was announced. “The last year was a time of extraordinary challenges, and it is more important than ever that we honor the outstanding community partners that brought innovative thinking and care to their work for our students and families.” The Superintendent’s Award, sponsored by the Pasadena Educational Foundation (PEF) and the California Credit Union, was initiated five years ago by McDonald.
A History of Direct and Indirect Support of PUSD Students & Families
For PCF, the pandemic ushered in a period of substantial funding in support of PUSD students and families, something McDonald says was instrumental in honoring the Foundation. “PCF has been supporting PUSD in direct and indirect ways over multiple years,” he said. “And this year, when families and students needed help during the pandemic, PCF really came through.”
PCF’s direct support of PUSD can be measured in its longtime support of Pasadena Educational Foundation, an organization that enhances and supplements PUSD programs and builds dynamic community partnerships to provide local public schools with essential resources and enrichment opportunities. The Foundation’s first grant to PEF was in 1974, and since then, PCF’s total funding to PEF stands at more than $1.8 million.
PCF’s indirect support comes in the form of its broad grantmaking to local nonprofit organizations, which assist PUSD students and families with food and housing assistance, arts and educational opportunities, health and wellness, and so much more. As the effects of the pandemic amplified during the last 18 months, PCF dispersed numerous new grants and repurposed those already in place to ensure that the district’s most vulnerable families had the supplies and assistance they needed.
PCF Pandemic Relief Grants Supported PUSD in Four Ways
Since March 2020, PCF pandemic-relief grants to PUSD supported:
- Provision of essential PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) for staff members who came to work despite the risks.
- The Families in Transition program, helping provide basic needs of homeless students and their families while campuses were closed.
- Outreach to students enrolled in the district’s Special Education Department to improve remote learning
- Tutoring and expanded learning opportunities for students at Madison Elementary School who were struggling with remote learning.
The Power of Collective Impact
During Superintendent McDonald’s visit to PCF’s office to present the award, he noted that “in this work, I truly believe in collective impact. We cannot do it all ourselves, we need the community to step in where they can.” PCF President & CEO Jennifer DeVoll concurred, saying “the pandemic found PCF at the table with other community partners, which was a new approach for the Foundation and one that really made us realize how important collective impact is. We are so happy that we as an organization were able to act in tandem with other community partners and to nimbly shift focus to uplift PUSD students and families.”