Thirty Years of Helping Children Learn

An elementary school teacher in south Louisville needs new tools to help her fifth-graders learn math.

In the Portland neighborhood, a science teacher is seeking unique resources to show students how science is used to solve real-world problems.

And at an elementary school in central Louisville, the school’s first music teacher is requesting materials to support independent learning and reinforce music.

Resource requests like these and many more are posted at DonorsChoose.org, an online hub where local public-school teachers can post classroom project requests, and donors can choose the ones they want to support with just the click of a mouse.

Once a donor places a project into their virtual shopping cart on DonorsChoose.org, the teacher will receive notice that their requested resources are on the way.

The Community Foundation of Louisville recently had the pleasure of identifying and funding a dozen local resource requests for 10 different elementary schools in Louisville thanks to the Winston & Nancy Bloch Fund. The Foundation selected the schools because they are located in parts of our community most impacted by longstanding disinvestment and underinvestment – a focus of the Foundation – and at least three quarters of the students in each school come from low-income families.

“It was the most rewarding experience of ‘shopping’ online,” says Liz Alkire, Director of Grants and Evaluation at the Foundation. “And to think it was all possible because of a gift to the Foundation in 1989, 11 years before DonorsChoose.org launched.”

The Winston & Nancy Bloch Fund was started by Mary Converse Jones in 1989 to help children learn by providing schools with grants to support non-traditional classroom resources. In the 30 years since it was started, the Foundation has ensured that grants from this fund continue to support the vision of helping children learn, taking an approach that is flexible and responsive to changing community needs and opportunities.

“The Bloch Fund is a great example of how the Foundation can advance a donor’s vision over time,” says Alkire. “Helping elementary school teachers secure resources is a great fit with the donor’s vision, but in 2016, we had an opportunity to use the fund to provide a different type of resource for a local school.”

In 2016, The Binet School within Jefferson County Public Schools requested a multi-year grant from the Foundation to certify staff members as Registered Behavior Technicians. This school provides successful learning experiences for students who have a combination of disabilities that can result in significant learning, developmental, or behavioral problems.

With a $15,000 grant from the Bloch Fund over three years, 12 staff members completed the training and received certification. The school reports that staff are using the tools and interventions gained during certification each day, and their students are showing great success and improvement in learning, focus, and behavior.

As the needs and opportunities in our community continue to change, “field of interest” funds like the Bloch Fund make it possible for the Foundation to keep a donor’s interests alive forever.

If you would like to learn more about how you can address a specific area of need by creating or contributing to a Field of Interest Fund at the Community Foundation of Louisville, please contact Jennifer Fust-Rutherford at [email protected] or 502.855.6953.