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When the deadly shooting happened Feb. 14 at Parkland’s Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, in just a matter of hours, the Broward Education Foundation sprang into action.
The foundation, which celebrates its 35th anniversary this year, is a not-for-profit organization aligned with Broward County Public Schools by providing support for innovative teaching, from pre-kindergarten to grade 12, and by offering critically needed educational materials, school supplies as well as some scholarships.
The foundation raised $10.5 million to assist students and their families after the attack. “It was something we were compelled to do,” says the foundation’s marketing director, Pejay Ryan. “We began setting it up that evening. By the very next morning, we began the fundraising. You can’t wrap your mind around it. The level of horror and shock was reverberating in our community. The outpouring of compassion was awe-inspiring. We had donors from around the nation and from around the world.”
The foundation doesn’t wait for tragedies to strike in its quest to assist educators and children. It provides free school supplies to teachers in economically disadvantaged areas. “We actually have a free-standing building in Pompano Beach,” Ryan says. The building houses many teaching materials and school supplies.
“Two times a year, teachers can shop there,” Ryan says. “We have basics like notebooks and things for craft projects. Teachers walk out with $400 to $500 in school supplies. On average there’s $1.5 million in supplies. There’s always a need for more. The first of the year we start restocking.”