As part of our goal to empower you in your philanthropy and to help you connect and learn from other donors, we held our first peer learning session on September 15th, and the topic was education and equity. We’re grateful to two of our donors, Stephen Walrod and Daniel McLaughlin for leading the discussion and sharing their personal stories and passions around education.
Stephen was joined by Odiaka Gonzales, the executive director of the Oakland Leaf Foundation, which Stephen helped found in 2002. Daniel was joined by Antonia Tapia, the principal of One Purpose School, which Daniel started; it opened its doors to students in August of 2015.
Stephen shared the credo of the Oakland Leaf Foundation – “Love is an Action.” This is infused throughout everything the organization does. Founded in 2002 and serving over 1,400 students annually, Oakland Leaf helps Oakland students achieve academic success and develop into thoughtful, creative citizens. Working with partners such as Oakland Unified School District (OUSD) and the City of Oakland, they provide a series of free school-based programs and community services that give students and families with limited financial resources access to the tools they need—not just to succeed, but to excel.
Commenting on how they work together, Odiaka said that Stephen embodies the motto. “The money helps, but he’s also a thought partner to me.” “Odiaka is an attentive leader with his staff and very engaged with our youth,” said Stephen. “He reflects the youth and that matters.”
One Purpose School is a public charter school in San Francisco’s Bay View neighborhood with classes from TK to 2nd grade. Daniel plans to add one new grade each year, through 12th grade. In addition to a rigorous academic program, One Purpose offers before and after school care as well as free breakfast, lunch and dinner. They also offer support to students who need counseling and emotional support.
San Francisco ranks 146 out of 149 in California urban school districts for performance of students of color. Daniel said to the room full of donors, “to me, equity is not just what kids need but what they deserve.” Antonio, who grew up in the South Bronx, wants to take luck out of the equation for low-income kids. “I had teachers who believed in me. My personal experience started me down this path.”
One of our donors who attended the peer learning session remarked “this has been wonderful and has brought us closer to the foundation and to the work and seeing what we can do beyond giving.”
We hope you too can join us for our future peer learning sessions, and we look forward to learning with and from you, our donor community.
Please review the additional information about the organizations represented on September 15th along with a list of other nonprofit organizations we recommend. These groups are working to expand access to opportunity for youth, and we invite donors to partner with us in supporting them.