Bay Area Inspired Art Contest Winners

Overall winner, ‘The Golden Treasure of San Francisco’, by Antonio N. age 14

Overall winner, ‘The Golden Treasure of San Francisco’, by Antonio N. age 14

We reached out to our BASIC Fund community to ask: What inspires you about the Bay Area? What do you love?

Our Scholars sent in so many amazing works of art, depicting all of their favorites things and places from around the Bay Area. We want to share just a few with you, including the winners and runners up from each age category of K-2, 3-5, and 6-8.

Antonio N.’s inspired piece depicting the Golden Gate Bridge struck us in particular. He wrote, “I am fascinated by its architecture, and its significant contribution to the people of San Francisco, and to the world. Choosing the Golden Gate Bridge as my subject makes me feel proud to be part of this great city, the golden city by the bay, San Francisco.”

Sofia C., Age 12, receives an honorable mention for her work ‘The Golden Gate’, done on canvas.

Sofia C., Age 12, receives an honorable mention for her work ‘The Golden Gate’, done on canvas.

Victor M., Age 11, won the 3-5 category with his ‘A Day At the Beach’. The Half Moon Bay inspired him for the good times he has had there and the beautiful sights he has taken in.

Victor M., Age 11, won the 3-5 category with his ‘A Day At the Beach’. The Half Moon Bay inspired him for the good times he has had there and the beautiful sights he has taken in.

Jayla W., age 10, receives an honorable mention for ‘The Oracle Arena’ which she picked because of the good times she has had there with her family and how pretty the building is at night when the blue and yellow lights come off of the building

Jayla W., age 10, receives an honorable mention for ‘The Oracle Arena’ which she picked because of the good times she has had there with her family and how pretty the building is at night when the blue and yellow lights come off of the building

Miguel C., age 7, wins the K-2 award for his ‘I Take the MUNI Train to School’. MUNI inspired him because, “it’s my favorite transportation. It takes me everywhere. Downtown and back and school and back home. I always carry my Clipper card to pay my bus fare.”

Miguel C., age 7, wins the K-2 award for his ‘I Take the MUNI Train to School’. MUNI inspired him because, “it’s my favorite transportation. It takes me everywhere. Downtown and back and school and back home. I always carry my Clipper card to pay my bus fare.”

Kiana M., Age 8, gets an honortable mention for ‘The Big Carnival’, showing the carnival she goes to every summer at the Alameda County Fair where she has a lot of fun with her family.

Kiana M., Age 8, gets an honortable mention for ‘The Big Carnival’, showing the carnival she goes to every summer at the Alameda County Fair where she has a lot of fun with her family.

Posted on February 28, 2019 .

Two Sets of BASIC Twins Moving Up and Giving Back

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Raising two sets of twins comes with a number of challenges, and for Jeannie, a single mother, an excellent education was one of the most important ones to navigate for her family. Both sets of twins ultimately attended the Tehiyah Day School in El Cerrito.

Their curriculum there focused on math, science, English, social studies, and all the usual subjects – it also put an emphasis on building community, respect, and acceptance. Those were lessons that both sets of twins learned well alongside their peers.

The older twins, Emma and Asher, had a class that had a group tzedakah project – charitable giving, grounded in the idea of justice and righteousness that is seen as an ethical obligation to do what is right and just. They were appreciative of the scholarships they and their family received and proposed The BASIC Fund as the organization of choice for the class, ultimately raising hundreds of dollars to support future BASIC Scholars.

The older pair are now off to college, with Emma attending Cal Poly San Luis Obispo where she is majoring in Biology and aspiring to become a physician. Asher is attending Columbia College Chicago, where he is earning a Bachelor’s in Music and releasing albums as well as performing in the city.

The younger pair of twins, Rena and Ezra, are currently exploring their next steps for the 2019-20 academic year as they’ll enter high school, but Jeannie is sure of one thing: they’ll do just fine with the strong foundation they worked to build at Tehiyah Day School.

“I can't begin to share how much all of my children gained from this experience, both academically, and in terms of getting a strong foundation for their Jewish identities.”

If you know a family you believe would benefit from The BASIC Fund, direct them to our How to Apply page.

Posted on February 26, 2019 .

Recovering from Disaster to Grow Stronger Together

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When the wildfires ripped through California in 2017, they left devastation in their wake. Santa Rosa was among the hardest hit, with the Tubbs Fire destroying nearly 3,000 homes.

St. Eugene Cathedral School in Santa Rosa, a BASIC Fund partner, was impacted in a number of ways.

“Twenty-one students and five staff members lost their homes, their pets and all their belongings. Other students’ homes were damaged, and one boy’s aunt and uncle perished in the fire. Half of our students whose homes ultimately survived were awakened in the middle of the night and driven away to safety. They, along with many other students, were evacuated at least once while firefighters battled to bring the fires under control,” Principal Barbara Gasparini said.

“As terrible as it was for families whose homes were destroyed or damaged, most of them had insurance and other resources to help them to recover financially. The BASIC Fund families, especially those who are Latino, were among the most financially vulnerable. Although most didn’t own homes to lose, many lost work time or jobs and saw their rents increase.”

In the weeks following the tragedy, the BASIC Fund and its supporters tried to better understand what role they could play in the recovery. Ultimately, donors from the BASIC Fund provided for additional tuition coverage for the families, and helped to hire a counselor who served the student body.

“Most of the children we traumatized by their experiences during the fires and returned to school wary and easily frightened,” the principal said. “The combination of counseling and after-school tutoring has helped the students on their path to recovery.”

The recovery has been difficult, and it is still far from finished, but the St. Eugene community carries a strong hope for the future. Principal Gasparini wants to see the students and families continue to heal, becoming strong and resilient. The students in turn have realized how important it is to receive help in their time of need, and set themselves to the task of raising money for those in need in Paradise following their recent fires.

“As awful as the firestorms were, it has been a blessing to see the caring and kindness BASIC Fund employees and donors have shown toward our community, and that members of our community have shown toward each other and beyond,” Principal Gasparini said.

If you want to see other ways The BASIC Fund is making a difference, check out http://www.basicfund.org/ourimpact.

Posted on February 26, 2019 .

Getting Involved to Give Back

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Steve and Roxy Klein have always understood the importance of a strong education – from the opportunities they had to those they were able to provide for their children, it was easy to see education at the center of it all.

So, it made sense that they would seek to share those same opportunities with their community. They started with a few private scholarships of their own in the East Bay, and soon a friend heard about what they were doing and put them in contact with Jim McCarthy, the founder of the BASIC Fund.

“We found that the BASIC Fund was a fully functioning organization, doing at scale, exactly what we had been doing in a very small way,” Steve said.

From that connection, they knew they wanted to be more involved in BASIC Fund’s work, so Steve joined the board in 2007. Since then, they’ve worked tirelessly to support the work and scholarships, but Steve knows there is always more to be done.

“The BASIC Fund has developed into a very productive organization that has served more than 23,000 children in the Bay Area. Most private elementary schools are aware of our scholarships, such that they make referrals to us, but each year we know we could be helping so many more students,” Steve said. “It’s an unfortunate situation because there are close to 9,000 empty desks in the private schools around the Bay Area. That means there is ample supply in the system, and our wait list indicates there is sufficient demand. All we need to match the supply and demand is more funding.”

What has really kept them connected to their work throughout the years is the school visits.

“I’m always amazed by the ‘goose bump’ experience of a school visit. The teachers and administrators are real-life heroes. Their compassion and effort is extraordinary, and the students always seem to be working very hard, but are very happy to be at school. The students seem to view the school as a sanctuary and feel safe there.”

If you’re interested in attending a school visit and seeing the impact of BASIC Fund scholarships at work, please contact Michelle Harris at michelle@basicfund.org.

Posted on February 26, 2019 .

Triplets on the BASIC Path to Success

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While we often get the incredible fortune of being able to work with an entire family, one exceptional instance stood out to us as we embarked on the 2018-19 school year.

Mikenzie, Cheynne, and Bentley are all part of the BASIC Fund, all attending Harvest Christian School through their scholarship award. More notable though, is that they are triplets and are all kicking off 1st grade in the same class.

“Receiving the BASIC Fund for my triplets was a complete blessing,” wrote their mother Lindsay. “I feel my children have learned so much this year even beyond a kindergarten level. They are building an amazing love for school.”

For their family, Harvest Christian has been the complete experience – from the staff, teachers and programs to the other students and families and the level of engagement they bring, it’s exactly what Lindsay wanted for her triplets.

“My kids do great at math and have really taken a liking to social studies. They have wonderful, unique, and educational field trips, school plays, family days, and they make it easy to be involved and active in your children’s learning environment,” Lindsay said.

Here at the BASIC Fund there’s no better reward than hearing about how our families are thriving in and out of the schools they attend. If you’d like to see these success stories in action, contact Michelle Harris, Develop Director, at Michelle@BASICFund.org to schedule a school visit.

Posted on October 22, 2018 .

Investing in Children and Opportunity

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Curtis and Christine Gardner and their family are happy for the opportunity to support the BASIC Fund program.  With a commitment to support youth programs in our community, they have been active donors and parent participants in their children’s schools for almost two decades – their oldest daughter is now a Freshman in college and their boys are in 11th and 7th grades.

The Gardner family is committed to supporting the success of all kids in our diverse Bay Area community – whether it is to help develop mentors, offer clean safe places for children to play, ensure access to healthy foods and clean water – or supporting amazing schools like those in the BASIC Fund network. 

“We want to invest in children.  In a world where our values seem to be shifting within complex political divides, we know for certain that healthy, motivated, educated children are the key to our future,” says Christine.  “We are delighted that we were introduced to the BASIC Fund and can make that opportunity come to life to support promising students throughout the Bay Area.”

The Gardner’s also support children and the community through their other philanthropic pursuits with Curtis serving as a Bay Area Board of Directors member for The First Tee program and a Director of the Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Bay Area. Christine has developed a deep interest in environmental health education and advocacy, working over the past ten years to create ecoCouncils, that address sustainability at her children’s schools, as well as serving on the Boards of the San Francisco Parks Alliance, the Environmental Working Group in Washington, D.C. and the Woods Institute for the Environment at Stanford University. 

Posted on October 22, 2018 .

Fostering the Entrepreneurial Spirit

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The BASIC Fund is partnering with NFTE, the Lumen Christi Academies, and Chevron in helping to roll out a curriculum to Bay Area schools that encourages the entrepreneurial mindset among youth from under-resourced communities – helping them build startup skills that will ensure their success.

While NFTE has a proven track record of instituting this type of curriculum in schools across the country, the local partnership with The BASIC Fund has helped to connect them with the resources to roll out their approach to entrepreneurship education and career readiness to new schools throughout BASIC Fund’s network.

“The Lumen Christi Academies relationship is an interesting network approach to school improvement and we feel we can add great value to this reform effort,” Alfredo Matthew, Director of NFTE Bay Area, said. “The introduction from the BASIC Fund has allowed us to be received with open arms by the Oakland Dioceses, and we are thrilled to be on the ground floor of this initiative.”

Matthew and his team are in the beginning stages of the curriculum roll-out to the Lumen Christi Academies, a process that will culminate in the curriculum’s implementation across all seven of LCA’s school sites during the 2019-2020 school year.

Helping to foster this entrepreneurial mindset among the Bay Area’s youth is an essential endeavor, as 90% of employers say that entrepreneurial skills are very important, 1 in 3 actively seeks to hire employees with entrepreneurial skills, and the workforce looks to transition to 50% freelancers by the year 2027.

“The best school partnerships for NFTE are schools that are vertically aligned with our approach to career readiness.  Meaning, the Entrepreneurial Mindset needs to resonate with the graduate profile and school culture.  Project Based Learning and public demonstrations of learning should be part of the assessment approach,” said Matthew. “Finally, there should be buy-in from the various levels of the school community, from administration to the teacher, to students and families.  In my experience, this vertical alignment is relationship driven and takes time to build, but it ensures success.”

The BASIC Fund is excited to be a part of this crucial partnership and the development of entrepreneurial curriculum to schools throughout the Bay Area.

From BASIC to Stanford and back - an alumna spotlight

Dominique graduated from St. Bede Catholic School in 2011, joining the ranks of BASIC Fund alumni. This year she returned to us as a Stanford University student and an intern, equipped with a penchant for building community and an incredible perspective on the journey our BASIC Fund families undergo.

 For Dominique, that journey represents opportunity.

Celebrating 20 Years

The BASIC Fund is proud of our 20 years of giving parents a choice and children a chance!  Our success is due to our generous supporters, many of whom were able to join us for our 20th Anniversary Celebration at AT&T Park on April 12th. We had a spectacular time with donors, families, schools, partners, and Lou Seal! For more information please see the Press Release

Posted on May 3, 2018 .

Chevron Donates $1 Million to The BASIC Fund to Support Scholarships for Bay Area Students

Donation honors Chevron Chairman and CEO John Watson

December 06, 2017 12:00 PM Eastern Standard Time

SAN RAMON, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Chevron Corporation (NYSE: CVX) today announced a $1 million donation to the Oakland-based BASIC Fund to aid scholarships for the children of San Francisco Bay Area low-income families. The contribution is in honor of Chevron Chairman and CEO John Watson who is retiring February 1 after 37 years of service with the company.

“This is the single largest corporate donation in our organization’s history. Through this support, together we will be able to provide scholarships to 100 children and launch a new business and financial literacy program to support students’ long term-success.”

The BASIC Fund is a 501(c)(3) organization whose mission is to broaden the educational opportunities for inner-city children by helping low-income families afford the cost of tuition at private schools in the Bay Area.

“My mother was a teacher, and she taught me the importance of education at an early age,” said Chairman and CEO John Watson. “My wife, Diane, was also a teacher and reinforced that message within our own family. A strong K–8 education sets the foundation for higher learning and a successful career. Unfortunately, not every family has access to this foundation.”

Chevron’s contribution builds upon a long-term commitment to supporting education in the communities where the company operates, with a particular focus on improving instruction in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). Working with local partners, Chevron takes a comprehensive approach to education investments. This includes supporting teacher training, providing classroom resources, funding out-of-school activities, and developing partnerships with universities designed to strengthen faculty, curricula and student development.

“Like Chevron, the BASIC Fund believes that increasing access to quality education helps unlock potential and fosters prosperity in our communities,” said Rachel Elginsmith, the BASIC Fund’s executive director. “This is the single largest corporate donation in our organization’s history. Through this support, together we will be able to provide scholarships to 100 children and launch a new business and financial literacy program to support students’ long term-success.”

To learn more about the BASIC Fund’s programs in the Bay Area, visit www.basicfund.org and for more information about Chevron’s support to education: www.chevron.com/education.

Chevron Corporation is one of the world’s leading integrated energy companies. Through its subsidiaries that conduct business worldwide, the company is involved in virtually every facet of the energy industry. Chevron explores for, produces and transports crude oil and natural gas; refines, markets and distributes transportation fuels and lubricants; manufactures and sells petrochemicals and additives; generates power; and develops and deploys technologies that enhance business value in every aspect of the company’s operations. Chevron is based in San Ramon, Calif. More information about Chevron is available at www.chevron.com.

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Contacts

Chevron
Kent Robertson, +1 925-842-1456
or
BASIC Fund
Michelle Harris, +1 415-986-5650

Posted on December 13, 2017 .