Photo courtesy of EPAK
Some teachers request EPAK grants to fund small classroom libraries, above, with books that supplement their curricula. Sarah Azevedo, director of bands at Ronald McNair Academy in East Palo Alto, used an EPAK grant to purchase supplies and sheet music for her students, left, and to take them to a solo and ensemble festival.
• Mission: The East Palo Alto Kids Foundation (EPAK) is a volunteer-run nonprofit organization that promotes educational opportunities and academic success for an estimated 4,500 underserved East Palo Alto and eastern Menlo Park public school students. Each semester, teachers in those areas may apply for a grant up to $600 to fund specific requests – including educational experiences such as field trips and classroom materials (from science equipment to sheet music and books) – that support the curriculum. EPAK awarded 226 grants worth more than $133,000 this year.
• 2016 update: Since last holiday season, EPAK has grown its team of volunteers from 20 to 30 people. Board President Lee Dinneen attributes the expansion to volunteer recruiting events and enthusiastic new board members. While the organization’s grant application process has been automated for some time, a recent addition is an automated grant-reporting process through which teachers can record the impact of EPAK donors’ gifts by submitting photos and testimonies.