The Gift of Knowledge: 10 Smart Ways You Can Support Education

La Jolla is fortunate to have educational resources for the littlest learners all the way up to those in their silvers, despite institutional budget cuts. Much of that quality comes from donations from families and supporters. To keep today’s (and future) generations thinking, here are 10 ideas for giving the gift of learning to people of all ages throughout La Jolla.

Bird Rock Foundation

In addition to ongoing fundraising, the Bird Rock Foundation hosts its spring gala. This year’s theme is “Moonlight Masquerade,” set for March 3, 2018 (time to be announced) at Estancia La Jolla Hotel, 9700 North Torrey Pines Road. The money raised helps the school provide smaller class sizes, music and art appreciation classes, and more. Those who want to support the Foundation throughout the year are encouraged to contribute to the annual giving campaign or volunteer their time. Learn more or donate: birdrockfoundation.com

Friends of La Jolla Elementary School

This group provides instructional enrichments (as stated on its website) additional classroom teachers to reduce class size; classroom supplies and educational resources for teachers; staffing and materials for music, art, technology and dance/theater/yoga rotation; and more. An additional fundraiser for La Jolla Elementary is the weekly La Jolla Open Aire Farmers Market (9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Sundays, Girard Avenue at Genter Street) where proceeds go to the school. Learn more or donate: friendsofljes.org

Foundation of La Jolla High School

According to its website, the Foundation raises funds each year to provide school programs and capital items not paid for by the San Diego Unified School District. These include: academic, athletic and enrichment advisors; capital improvements and technology; support staff; and campus beautification and maintenance. The Foundation also has a Greatest Needs Fund to which supporters can make donations. In addition to its annual giving campaign, the Foundation offers a community rewards program, fundraising events, an endowment fund and more. Learn more or donate: foundationofljhs.com

Muirlands Middle School Foundation

The Muirlands Foundation, formed in 1989, uses financial and volunteer support to enhance the middle school experience. Some examples of Foundation projects, according to its website, include making after-school tutoring available to all students; establishing teaching assistants to help meet the challenge of class sizes; curriculum enhancements like microscope maintenance and robotic kits for classroom use; books for the library; and more. The annual Muirlands Gives campaign closes Dec. 31. Learn more or donate: muirlandsfoundation.org

Torrey Pines Elementary School Foundation

Although the Foundation had a fundraising event in October — more than $169,000 was raised — the Foundation continues to collect donations through June 30, 2018 for this year’s cycle. Funds from these cycles pay for school’s art, music/theater/dance, PE, Spanish, and technology programs; two part-time teachers and one full-time teacher, and more. The Foundation also posts lists of grade-specific supply lists prior to the start of the new school year that are shared within the class. Those who want to support the school may purchase items from these lists. Learn more or donate: tpesfoundation.org

Local Scholarships

• The Kiwanis Club of La Jolla raises funds primarily through the La Jolla Half Marathon (held each spring) and distributes the money to more than 80 charities and groups that support children. That includes grants and scholarships to schools. Learn more or donate: kiwanisclublajolla.org/donations

• The Rotary Club of La Jolla has two scholarship programs: La Jolla Rotary Scholarships and Florence Riford Scholarships. Each year, approximately $180,000 is distributed to graduates of La Jolla High School, The Bishop’s School, La Jolla Country Day School and The Preuss School. Qualifications for these scholarships, information and donation opportunities can be found: rotarycluboflajolla.com/scholarships/

• This Halloween, La Jolla teen Adam Gans introduced the community to the Brian Schultz Scholarship Fund when he created a haunted house/maze in his Soledad-area backyard, giving the price of admission collected to the Fund. This scholarship money is available to students fighting cancer who attend San Diego State University. According to SDSU, Brian was a graduate who was diagnosed with cancer and fought a “short, but valiant battle.” His friends established the Brian Schultz Memorial Golf Classic to raise funds for the UCSD Moores Cancer Center and a scholarship at SDSU that bears his name. Learn more: studentaffairs.sdsu.edu and click on Financial Aid and Scholarships

• In La Jolla, the UC San Diego Chancellor’s Associates is a group of alumni, staff, parents and donors that all contribute to a fund, which in turn provides scholarships to the students. The Chancellor’s Scholarship covers needs such as tuition, books, room and board, and is given to students who would not be able to afford such otherwise. In 2016, the Chancellor’s Association had its most successful year in its 50-year history, raising more than $872,000. The Chancellor’s Association participates in Giving Tuesday (which follows Black Friday and Cyber Monday) to encourage philanthropy during the holidays. Learn more: chancellorsassociates.ucsd.edu/

Lifelong Learning

For those learners over age 50, Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at UC San Diego offers a membership-based educational program with quarterly classes, lectures, seminars and activities, as well as peer socializing opportunities. It is a volunteer-run organization under the administrative auspices of UCSD Extension, and accepts donations to offset the costs of running the programs. Classes are offered either on an annual membership basis or a drop-in basis to accommodate each learner’s schedule. The winter program runs Jan. 8 to March 16. Learn more at olli.ucsd.edu or giveto.ucsd.edu

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