The Foundation’s Mission
To promote educational excellence by providing resources to support work which enriches the education, development and well being of all Sunnyside Unified School District children. The Sunnyside Foundation board is dedicated to funding enriched educational opportunities for children in Sunnyside Unified School District (SUSD).
To provide the resources needed for every Sunnyside Unified School District student to enjoy a comprehensive educational experience.
Strategic Overview of the Sunnyside Unified School District Foundation: A Private, Non-Profit
Genesis and Mission:• Begun 22 years ago by Sunnyside High graduates who subsequently graduated from the University of Arizona and became very prominent Tucsonans.
• They believed then, that the budgets were draconian and these particular students needed a level playing field, and the resources to become successful, productive citizens.
Our purpose is to provide funding to students in the district via money made available directly to individual teachers and schools to enhance and enrich students’ education experience. Due to the current economic crisis in Arizona that continues, as well as the limited amount of money available throughout SUSD, funds provided by the Foundation are critical for the district to implement valuable programs that provide students with the academic resources necessary for success in the 21st century. We aim to meet the deficiencies and needs of the school district by improving instruction and opportunity in the areas of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) programming, student and family literacy projects, the Digital Advantage and Digital Curriculum initiatives (providing students with laptops and computer skills knowledge), arts and cultural programming, and support for post-secondary education opportunities. Projects and programs can include a combination of extracurricular, scholastic, artistic, and athletic components as designed by the schools or teachers receiving funding through the Sunnyside Foundation.
Pertinent SUSD Statistics
• Funding was reduced by 86.6% annually since 2013 school year (reductions of more than $8.9M and counting) which continued last year with the defeat of district budget over-rides, and the continued fragility of our state’s economic rebound.
• 86% of SUSD’s 17,000 plus students are considered economically disadvantaged and qualify for federally subsidized free breakfast and lunch programs.
• A third of our students are considered ‘homeless’
• 94% of SUSD students identify as minorities.
• 4.1% of SUSD students identify as Native American and tribes represented within the district include Tohono O’odham, Apache, Cherokee, Hope, Navajo, Pima, Pueblo, Saponi, Sioux and Yaqui.
• 49% of SUSD’s elementary students speak English as a second language
Our goal is to increase the amount available to fund the many worthwhile grant requests we receive even in current economic conditions. We are constantly seeking additional and new sources of funding to support classroom and teacher focused projects and programs. Grants are awarded up to a $1,000 maximum per request if the Grant will be to the benefit of only one school or group of students. Grants of up to $2,500 maximum are awarded if the Grant will be to the benefit of multiple schools, organizations or the entire SUSD community.
A very stringent rubric methodology is used to evaluate grant applications submitted by teachers, by a committee comprised of foundation board members, teachers, and community members. Funding is provided for projects that are:• Supportive of academic achievement
• Those that enhance and encourage learning and academic growth
• That use resources effectively
• And areas where outcomes can be measured
Excellence in Education grants are concentrated in three vital curriculum areas• Fine Arts & Music
• Literacy, Early Childhood and Family
• STEM Programs and Projects
One of the Foundation’s newest programs, ‘Back to Basics’ is designed to be used in the often changing classroom or home environment when needs arise that are unplanned and not budgeted. Flexibility is the key and Back to Basics grants have a $250 per grant maximum with a 48 hour turn around decision target. When a child needs an eye exam and glasses because their classroom experience is painful and their grades are suffering or when a child lacks a pair of athletic shoes to participate in intramural athletic programs are good examples of this program will make a difference. We all are aware of the benefits of team participation; discipline, learning to be a team player, developing that ‘fire in the belly’ competitiveness that creates the desire for success in life.
This gives you a ‘glimpse’ of what the Foundation does – Besides the Excellence in Education grants funding each Fall, over the past 18 years the Foundation has brought over $600K to the district through various programs and projects. For more information, please visit our website: www.sunnysidefoundation.org.
Thank you for the opportunity to provide you with this overview of The Sunnyside Foundation and the excellent work that has been on-going for the past eighteen years.