Oct 5, 2015
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West County public schools are being offered as much as $2,000 apiece to fund projects that help achieve academic goals or boost student engagement.

Last week, the Chamberlin Family Foundation (CFF) announced up to $125,000 in Inspiration Grants for both WCCUSD and public charter school principals in the 2015-16 school year. The Inspiration Grants are a follow-up to the foundation’s Gratitude Grants from last spring, which gave $61,000 to more than 250 teachers for school supplies including iPads, Chromebooks, graphing calculators, and Common Core curriculum book sets.

Now principals and school leaders are getting a boost. Their Inspiration Grant funds must be spent on achieving an idea or plan that results in academic improvement or in helping students to become more emotionally invested in and prepared for school. Grants can pay for school supplies and resources, professional development, or partnerships with an established not-for-profit organization. Principals are even encouraged to pool grant awards and collaborate on projects or programs.

An eligible grant idea, for example, would be a proposal to create a writing academy at a school by implementing a specific writing program, and starting such activities as an after-school creative writing club or poetry readings.

“School leaders and their faculty create real change through collaboration,” Susan Chamberlin, co-founder with her husband Steve of the Chamberlin Family Foundation, said in a statement. “We hope Inspiration Grants will encourage school leaders and emerging leaders to collaborate, share best practices, and learn from one another.”

Principals can apply for grants up to Oct. 30.  They can learn more about the application process here. 

“We encourage school leaders to think big about what Inspiration Grants can accomplish for their students,” said Caroline Damon, Chamberlin Family Foundation’s program officer for educational leadership and innovation. “Working toward an excellent and equitable education for all West Contra Costa students requires no less.”

The photo above is of Montalvin Manor teacher Nerissa Contawee, who bought books with her Spring 2015 Gratitude Grants, the first all-district grant that CFF made to West Contra Costa County schools.


About the Author

Mike Aldax is the editor of the Richmond Standard. He has 13 years of journalism experience, most recently as a reporter for the San Francisco Examiner. He previously held roles as reporter and editor at Bay City News, Napa Valley Register, Garden Island Newspaper in Kaua’i, and the Queens Courier in New York City.