Earlier this spring, Haslam Sports Group founders Dee and Jimmy Haslam pledged $1.5 million to COVID-19 relief efforts throughout the state of Ohio through the Haslam 3 Foundation, with $500,000 going to the Columbus Foundation’s Emergency Response Fund.
KIPP Columbus, which is part of a national network of free, open enrollment, college-preparatory public schools and a long-standing partner of Columbus Crew SC, was one of many aid recipients from the Columbus Foundation’s Emergency Response Fund.
Executive Director of KIPP Columbus, Hannah Powell, explained how KIPP Columbus has been able to remain steadfast in its commitment to its students through the help of the Columbus Foundation’s donation despite having moved to remote learning in mid-March.
“The recent donation from The Columbus Foundation was used to seed our Emergency Response Fund. This fund will be used to address critical needs of our KIPPsters and their families at this time and going forward. As you are aware, the needs in our community are significant, and this is one additional step to meeting those needs,” Powell said.
KIPP Columbus’s Emergency Response Fund will continue to be utilized to address housing needs, transportation needs, and food insecurity, amongst other initiatives of KIPP Columbus.
Following the state’s stay-at-home order in late March, one of KIPP Columbus’s goals, in particular, was to develop a food distribution center, to ensure students would continue to have access to free meals.
Within those initial days after moving to remote learning, a plan was in action to continue providing meals for students and families, Powell explained.
“KIPPsters receive free breakfast and lunch every day from KIPP. When we closed, we knew this meant an extended period of time some of our students would be going without access to food. We reached out to our foodservice partner, AVI, and within a few days a plan was in action,” Powell said.
To date, nearly 150,000 meals have been provided to KIPP students and children throughout the community.
As KIPP’s commitment to its students continues, perhaps the exemplifier of the school system’s dedication to its students rests in the fact that 100-percent of the Linden-based school’s first graduating class was accepted to college, with over $6 million in merit-based scholarships awarded.
Additionally, physically-distanced celebrations of this accomplishment, including a graduation ceremony, remain in place to ensure every student in the Class of 2020 is celebrated.
“KIPP Columbus has celebrations planned throughout the month of May – including a graduation ceremony on May 31st - to ensure that, while we may not be able to celebrate as we originally planned, the accomplishments of our KIPPsters are not diminished,” Powell said.