Local community organizations that support underserved children and that are facing a surge in demand from the coronavirus crisis can apply to receive grants from a $1 million charitable fund established by Curriculum Associates’ CEO and his wife.
Those organizations will have to hurry: The application deadline is Friday, March 20, at 5 p.m.
Grants between $10,000 and $50,000 will be awarded to qualifying 501(c)(3) groups who are working with student populations receiving free or reduced-price meals.
Organizations anywhere in the U.S. that serve the critical physical and mental health needs of underserved school children aged 12 and under, provide nutritional assistance, and/or support special education will be considered. Faith-based organizations that provide these services are also eligible.
To apply, the organization must write a short description explaining how they will provide critical services quickly—and to as many underserved children in their local community as possible—while still providing social distance and safety in light of COVID-19.
“It’s hard for a nonprofit to be able to get money in three days, and we have a way to do it,” said Rob Waldron, CEO of Curriculum Associates, in an interview. He co-manages the philanthropy making the awards, the Waldron Charitable Fund, with his wife, Jennifer.
The only caveat, Waldron said, is that his foundation cannot make direct grant contributions to schools, parent-teacher organizations or a local school foundation. Government procurement rules for K–12 curriculum companies preclude that activity, and Curriculum Associates is an ed-tech company that provides more than 8 million K–12 students nationwide with adaptive assessment and personalized learning materials.
“While I’m involved in student achievement and academics, reading, writing and math—the thing I know about schools is that they are depended upon, enormously, to be of service for students’ other needs,” Waldron said. “When schools close in summer, there are plans for this, but now there are no plans.”
Applicants should email a document no longer than two pages in PDF form to WaldronFund@gmail.com and address the following:
- Briefly describe the 501(c)(3) organization.
- What problem are you working to solve?
- How many underserved children will be positively impacted by your efforts?
- How will you distribute your solution while keeping children safe during the COVID-19 crisis?
- How quickly can your service be provided?
The foundation requires that applicants include a copy of the organization’s most recent Form 990 and annual report, if one exists. A duplicate copy should be mailed to the attention of Rob Waldron at Curriculum Associates, 153 Rangeway Road, North Billerica, MA 01862.
“We’re hoping to unleash the great social entrepreneurship of our citizenship in America to support organizations in America that have found quick ways to do this,” said Waldron.
“Normally my wife and I give donations that are anonymous. But in this case, we’re trying to signal that this issue may not be paid attention to enough. It needs a ton of speed. Our hope is that others will join us.”