As it gets closer to Christmas and Hanukah, are you running out of holiday gift ideas and losing patience with the crowds at the mall? One solution is to give a donation to a local education organization in honor of those special people on your list. No need to worry about getting the right size, and you’ll be giving a precious gift that will benefit the next generation in and around your own community. Here are a few ideas to get you started.
The Burlingame Community for Education Foundation (BCE) is a nonprofit organization dedicated to enhancing educational opportunities for students in Burlingame’s public elementary schools and Burlingame Intermediate School. The money raised helps to keep class sizes small and provide an enriched curriculum, including music, physical education and library services for students. Continuing state budget cuts have meant less money for local schools. BCE has set an ambitious goal of raising $1 million this year to support district programs. Donations are accepted online as well as by check.
BCE is also hosting a family-friendly fundraiser this holiday season. This evening, December 16, you can attend a screening of It’s a Wonderful Life at auditorium at 7:30 p.m. At 6 p.m. there will be pre-show festivities, holiday treats, hot cocoa and coffee. Tickets are $12.50 at the door or $10 if purchased online or by phone: (800) 838-3006. All proceeds benefit Burlingame schools.
The Burlingame High School Excellence Fund, a parent-run, nonprofit arm of the Burlingame High School Parents’ Group, has been raising money to support programs at Burlingame High School since 1982. With the funds they raise, the BHS Parents' Group Excellence Fund has provided the basics including books, DVDs, computers, science equipment and instructional software. The Fund also supports a teacher stipend, distributed in fall and spring, to pay for additional classroom supplies and critical student programs including the After-School Academic Center, the Freshman Buddies Program, the Career Center EXPLORE Program and the Community Service Program. You can donate online here.
My New Red Shoes, a Bay Area charitable organization based in Burlingame, raises money to provide homeless children with brand new clothing and shoes so they can look and feel confident as they start the school year. The organization also rallies youth and adults around this effort through volunteer and educational opportunities for individuals, families, schools, corporations and community groups.
The San Mateo County Children’s Fund has a number of programs that benefit children from low-income families throughout the county. One ongoing program, the School Supply and Clothing Drive, provides children in grades kindergarten through high school with brand new supplies and clothing for the school year. The program officially kicks off in the summer but accepts donations year round. The Children's Fund Holiday Program provides children, ages newborn to 18, with gifts during the holiday season. The gifts are requested through wish lists from low-income families known to San Mateo County services.
DonorsChoose, a national nonprofit, links donors with classrooms in need. Teachers from across San Mateo County and the country submit requests ranging from pencils for a poetry writing unit, to violins for a school recital, to microscope slides for a biology class. As a donor, you browse project requests and give any amount to the one that inspires you. Once a project reaches its funding goal, DonorsChoose delivers the materials to the school. You'll get photos of your project taking place, a thank-you letter from the teacher, and a cost report showing how each dollar was spent. If you give over $100, you'll also receive hand-written thank-you letters from the students. You can also purchase DonorsChoose gift cards. If you want a gift card to be mailed, be sure to order before December 19 to ensure that it arrives before Christmas. That way, that special someone on your list gets to choose what classroom project to support. Currently there aren’t any projects listed in Burlingame, but you can fund projects in other San Mateo County classrooms, many of them moderate to high-poverty, such as leveled guided reading books for a classroom in East Palo Alto or Write and Wipe boards for a high-poverty classroom in Daly City so students there can write their answers and show their teacher without wasting a lot of paper.