By the end of a fundraiser in early March 2020, the Cherry Creek Schools Foundation (CCSF) was thrilled with the resources it could provide to the Cherry Creek School District (CCSD) and the students and staff in it’s 67 schools. The Foundation made its largest ever donation to the school district of more than $723,000 for classroom tools, teacher grants, specialized programs and the list goes on. 2020 was going to the be a year that had great impact!
Well, 2020 did deliver an impact… but not the kind we all were hoping for. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, learning was disrupted and students and staff were separated from one another. The economy took a hit and families suffered financial losses. There was chaos, suffering and confusion.
Very quickly, the Cherry Creek Schools Foundation responded in partnership with the school district to create the Cherry Creek Schools Emergency Relief Fund. “We worked together to discover the greater needs among students, parents and staff,” CCSF Executive Director Jill Henden said.
The community rallied to help the school communities across this large and diverse school district (Cherry Creek District extends 108 square miles). This story captures the good that can be done when we all pull together.
The Cherry Creek Schools Foundation distributed 47,300 books and 4,000 school supply kits as well as hotspots to students who do not have reliable internet access at home so that remote learning could be successful. With the help of donations, CCSF provide enormous amounts of food to families and staff who requested assistance. Donations didn’t just include food for families but also food for family pets. There were also diapers and toiletries provided to the CCSD community.
There was also a lot of giving back to the community. CCSF purchased materials that high school students then used to make personal protective equipment for local hospital workers.
When it came time for the 2021 fundraising gala, the plea was made for the community to stay united and keep this kind of caring momentum going. As the school district likes to say, now is the time to move forward together.
We produced a short story that the foundation used to raise awareness and attendance for the March 2021 virtual gala. It sparked a lot of buzz and increased online participation for the event.
The people within the Cherry Creek School District and the Foundation have inspired one another to meet the need of every student, every family, every teacher and staff member. And with that kind of unity, this community is indeed moving forward together.