To support schools in our area, Southwest Partnership raises funds to support a small grants program, named the "Lou Packett Memorial Fund for Education"! The grant program helps the eight public schools in our area get the support they need in an equitable, accessible way while providing an easy way for individual donors to support area schools and know that their contributions are going directly to schools. The funds are designed with the knowledge that school communities know best how to support their students, families, and staff.
Community Schools provide a range of resources to schools, families and students--from basic needs such as food and clothing to help accessing housing and adult education to after school programs and academic enrichment. They do a lot with a little, and the grants fund is designed to support our schools and provide an opportunity for community members to directly support the needs of schools, children, and families.
Lou giving a high five (and lollipop) to a young boy in Union Square Park
Who was Lou Packett?
The fund for schools is named in memory of Lou Packett.
Lou was a committed and passionate advocate for our neighborhoods and the people who live in them, a tireless champion not afraid to make big asks and dream big dreams, and a lifelong learner who was always happy to try new things and learn new things. He was always working for a more just, compassionate, and connected world. Lou was an organizer, a champion, and a friend.
As a past Chair of our Education and Workforce Development Committee he was a leader in advocating for community schools and educational equity. He organized a series of community conversations on the impact of racism on education. He worked tirelessly to make sure schools, teachers, and students had what they needed to be successful, and grow. As a Franklin Square neighbor he organized community trips to harvest fresh fruits and vegetables and bring them home to freely share with the community. As the Fund Development Chair for the SWP he built partnerships with churches, local and national organizations, businesses, and individuals to ensure that the SWP has the resources needed to build an awesome, vibrant, diverse community.
Eligible Uses: The fund is intended to support small projects and initiatives such as the purchase of a washer dryer, supplies for a garden club, or transportation to field trips. The maximum award amount is $1000 or 50% of the total available funds, whichever is smaller.
Funds must be requested by the school’s Community School Coordinator.
Structure: Donations made to the SWP fund to support schools will used to support small, immediate needs from schools, on a first come first serve basis.
If a community member would like to support a particular type of initiative they may indicate that funding is available for that, and the SWP will reach out to the schools to let them know that resources are available for that need if wanted. However, one of the goals of the fund is to empower schools to set their own priorities. Donating to a general fund ensures that the donor will be supporting a diverse range of programs and projects that have been prioritized by school communities and families themselves. The SWP cannot guarantee that donations for a specific program or project type will be needed. We can guarantee that there is always a need in our schools.
If community members would like to make a donation to a specific school they should do so through the school’s Community School Lead Agency.
Reporting: Donors will be provided with an annual report describing how their donations have benefitted area schools.
Schools will be required as a condition of funding to submit basic reports. The goal is not to have an onerous reporting burden but to ensure accountability and enable the Committee raising funding and review the previous years program and make any necessary changes.
- Schools need to send documentation of the purchase (receipt, photo of purchased item) and brief description of how the grant was used and the impact it made on the students/families/schools. Pictures are encouraged. A reporting template will be provided.
Annual Review: The program will be reviewed annually by the Education Committee and adjustments will be made to program guidelines to ensure that the funding is equitably distributed.
What Types of Projects are Eligible?
The Lou Packett Fund is intended to support small projects, programs, and school needs that are connected to the community school strategy at each school. These could include:
- Replacing or purchasing a washer and dryer, food pantry fridge, or other needed appliance for services and resources at the school
- Supplies for an school enrichment program or club
- Transportation for a field trip
- Resources and supplies (coats, transportation assistance etc) to provide directly to families
- Attendance incentives
- Supplies for family engagement activities
How Much Funding Can a School Apply For?
The maximum award is $1000 or 50% of the available funds. If the available funds are below $2000 (and so the maximum award is less than $1000) we’ll let folks know.
Right now we have no limit on the amount of times a school can apply, but during the initial period the Fund is open we will accept one application per school for the first three months. Once that period is completed we will open the Fund up to first come, first serve applications from schools. However, if we’re getting disproportionate applications from one school, or there are schools who consistently are unable to access the Fund, even though they’d like to or have projects, because money is already spent we will adjust the awarding requirements to ensure more equity in awards.
How Do I Spend the Money?
There are three options for spending money received by the SWP. We can:
- provide a check made out to a school, PTO, other partner organization with a bank account
- reimburse an individual or group once we receive a receipt for the awarded expense
- we can purchase the item(s) needed directly.
It’s up to the awardee! We’re happy to talk through the logistics of each funded project to figure out the best way to spend money.
How are Applications Reviewed?
Applications are reviewed for eligibility by Southwest Partnership staff. If a project is eligible, and funds are available, an award will be made.
What are the Reporting Requirements
We will ask all schools to submit basic reports as a condition of funding. The goal is not to have an onerous reporting burden but to ensure accountability and enable the Committee raising funding and review the previous years program and make any necessary changes.
Once the project or program is complete we ask for:
- documentation of the purchase (receipt, photo of purchased item)
- brief description of how the grant was used and the impact it made on the students/families/schools.
- pictures are encouraged!
A reporting template will be provided upon award