San Felipe Del Rio Consolidated Independent School District Education Foundation helped local students and teachers, despite the novel coronavirus pandemic preventing the organization from setting up fundraising events.

During Monday’s regular board meeting, San Felipe Del Rio CISD Education Foundation President Sylvia Owens reported the foundation used funds to help students obtain laptops and fund a few education projects this year.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has created a truly unprecedented situation which affects us all. As we became aware that all our students would begin school in a virtual setting, we couldn’t help but notice that many of them would have to rely on the district’s resources (i.e., they’d have to borrow an iPad, desktop or laptop from the school),” Owens’s presentation states.

As of Monday, a total of $82,450 was donated to the foundation and a total of 168 laptops were purchased for deserving students in the community. Some of the laptops have already been assigned out to campuses based on need and availability, according to Owens.

Owens added the students that received laptops were encouraged by the foundation to reach out to the sponsors and send them a thank you letter, and noted it was a tough task finding laptops, the demand is very high.

“Because of the pandemic, basically what we tried to do was come up with grants to our teachers (projects) that can still be utilized during a pandemic. You know the remote teaching,” Owens said, adding they wanted to make sure the foundation was able to sponsor projects that were possible to be done in a safe manner.

The foundation awarded four scholarships to outstanding teachers in the school district’s community, with a cumulative total of $6,917.95, according to Owens.

The four grants were distributed to Ruben Chavira Elementary for the project “Science in a Bag,” Garfield Elementary for the project “Cardio Drumming,” Dr. Lonnie Green Elementary for the project “TV Positivity” and Del Rio Freshman School for the project “Life Skills Green House.”

Owens added there were some very good applicants and the foundation will hold on to those applications in the hopes of something being done in the future.

The foundation also awarded 16 scholarships to 2020 high school graduates, with a cumulative total of $10,500.

This year the foundation canceled two of its flagship events; Dinner on the Creek and Adventure on the Creek.

The education foundation did send out notice to sponsors on cancellation of Dinner on the Creek. Majority of the sponsors chose to let the foundation keep the money, and so far the education foundation has spent $70,121.80 on laptops.

“We want to offer our heartfelt gratitude to each individual sponsor for the kindness and generosity of each donation received during this past year. Together, we’ve made a significant impact on the lives of teachers and children. Your partnership and generosity has empowered us to make a meaningful difference to all students and teachers we serve,” Owens said.

The foundation’s purpose is to enrich, strengthen, enhance and support the school district by funding educational projects and activities not otherwise provided for by public monies that directly benefit the school district’s staff and students.

The foundation also recognizes educators’ initiative and creativity, and students’ achievement and commitment to learning.