Grants Will Help Students and Families Adapt to Health and Economic Consequences of COVID-19, Navigate Distance Learning and Bridge the Education Equity Gap.
In March, when COVID-19 closed schools across Seattle and King County, changes occurred almost overnight. Classes went online. Students went home. Parents were conscripted as teachers. Lesson plans took a backseat to student well-being and safety. Technology and connectivity were transformed from a luxury to a necessity.
To support local students and families, Tableau today announced it is donating nearly $2M through the Tableau Foundation to organizations supporting the Puget Sound's most vulnerable through the COVID-19 crisis. These investments focus on helping meet the urgent needs of youth of color and their families as they navigate distance learning and support educators and community organizations working to bridge the equity gap.
'The Puget Sound has been Tableau's home for more than 15 years and we're committed to help build a future where everyone can share in the benefits of its growth,' said Neal Myrick, Head of the Tableau Foundation. 'Without equitable access to the STEM education and skills that underpin tens of thousands of careers, we risk losing an entire generation of diverse, homegrown talent.'
Grants will help 14 nonprofits and organizations including sea.citi's Family Tech Support Center (FTSC), FareStart, and the Technology Access Foundation (TAF) tackle immediate needs and long-term racial and equity disparities exacerbated by COVID-19.
Educating students amid a continuing pandemic required administrators to balance education and safety as they navigate disparate guidelines, data and community pressure. They've built new remote learning models while reimagining physical classrooms, placing incredible strain on already limited resources. For students, the pandemic caused an education crisis that disproportionately impacts low-income and minority families.
Organizations like TAF have evolved their programs to support teachers and students adapting to this new world of synchronous / asynchronous remote teaching and learning.
'The past several months put a magnifying glass on racial inequities in our community and brought us to a critical juncture in education,' said Trish Millines Dziko, TAF Co-Founder and Executive Director. 'These funds will help us support educators and reimagine an equitable school system where all students can successfully learn whether or not they're in physical classrooms.'
Tableau is also investing in programs like sea.citi's Family Tech Support Center, a public-private partnership between sea.citi, Seattle Public Schools, Alliance for Education and several area technology companies including Tableau. As classes moved online in March, FTSC was formed to provide dedicated tech navigators to help families navigate any technical challenges with new hardware and software so Seattle Public School students can fully participate in remote learning. To date, Family Tech Support Center volunteers have fielded nearly 2,500 tech support calls. They are increasing their services with the district, to make sure every student has the tech support they need.
'Tech access is crucial to virtual learning. Donated laptops and internet access are essential but do not directly translate to consistent, equitable learning. For students and families navigating the district's technology and tools for the first time, support was incomplete,' said Nick Merriam, CEO, sea.citi and Family Tech Support Center. 'FTSC closes that gap with hands-on technical assistance and customized support for students and families struggling with remote instruction. Tableau's support will help extend these digital equity services to Seattle Public Schools' more than 55,000 local students and 3,700 teachers.'
Early on, Tableau Foundation recognized that unprecedented times required the team to think expansively about the kinds of partnerships that would make a meaningful difference.
'In speaking with each of these non-profits, it was clear no one program or organization would be enough and we needed to take a collective action approach,' said Myrick. 'The work of each of these organizations overlaps with and reinforces the effectiveness of others, ensuring that these kids have a whole community of support standing behind them.'
Grant recipients include:
Equal Opportunity Schools provides students of color and low-income students with equitable access to academically intense high school programs. Funds will help EOS implement a STEM Equity Initiative with SPS to identify, enroll and support students in STEM AP courses and internships to provide equity-oriented professional learning focused on AP Computer Science.
Family Tech Support Center (FTSC) was founded to help students and families navigate the sudden shift to virtual learning. This grant will help FTSC scale to all Seattle Public Schools and provide dedicated technology navigators to help schools and underserved families successfully use remote learning.
FareStart has long used food to transform lives, disrupt poverty and nourish communities. This funding will help FareStart provide approximately healthy, made-from-scratch 33,000 dinners to underserved students who typically rely on school meals.
FEEST is a youth-led organization working to improve health in local schools. During COVID-19, this Black-led, youth-oriented organization is providing meals to underserved youth and families in South King County. Funding will support their 2020-2021 youth leadership cohort in learning and organizing to conduct student-led social justice projects serving their peers and community.
Geeking Out Kids of Color (GOKiC) offers data science, full stack web dev and other STEM programs to teach kids computer science through a multicultural perspective. This grant will expand youth and family support programs through GOKiC's COVID response team and offer health insurance to educators.
Rainier Scholars offers a path to college graduation for low-income South Seattle students of color. Funding will help provide Rainier Scholars students with laptops and home wifi, ensuring access to educational offerings. Funds will also support planning and help provide tools, training and support to make distance learning cognitively and socially engaging to address educational inequities and gaps formed during the pandemic and transition to online learning.
Roadmap Project works to improve education outcomes in seven South King County school districts. Funds will help scale Roadmap Project to help improve student success and use data to improve outcomes for underserved students.
Technology Access Foundation (TAF) teaches STEM skills through broad programming and dedicated classrooms. This grant will help TAF build capacity and scale programs throughout Washington State to transform classrooms and redefine public education.
Treehouse works to close the achievement gap between youth in foster care and their peers by providing academic and essential support to help students become more self-determined and invested in their education. Funds will help Treehouse continue remote meetings with youth, providing a consistent and positive adult presence that keeps students engaged in school and connecting youth and caregivers (especially non-native English speakers) to support and resources.
Washington Building Leaders of Change (WA-BLOC) is a Rainier Beach-based organization committed to building academic, creative and community leaders among underserved youth. This grant will allow WA-BLOC to continue COVID-19 relief efforts, help equip Rainier Beach scholars and families for a remote return to school and provide virtual academic support and supplies to Rainier Beach High School and Emerson Elementary School.
OneAmerica is the state's largest immigrant and refugee advocacy organization. Tableau's grant will support the One America Youth program in engaging immigrant and refugee young people from across King County. Funds will support their work in immigration, education reform justice and racial justice and will leverage their power and advocacy to move school districts and colleges to address educational inequities amplified by the pandemic and provide tech tools for all.
Zeno is a Seattle-based non-profit committed to improving math confidence and abilities in low-income communities. These funds accelerate Zeno's ability to reach 4,000+ WA families and 500 educators through preschools, home visit programs, in-home childcare providers and other educational settings. It will expand resources for engaging young children in math learning at home and increase opportunities for educators to explore early math and family engagement best practices online.
These funds build on Tableau's longstanding community commitment and are the latest grants focused on addressing inequality, poverty, hunger discrimination, abuse and other societal issues exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. To date, Tableau's invested more than $18 million in Washington-based organizations.
In addition, Tableau will also support the small retailers, restaurants, services and nonprofits in the neighborhoods where their employees live and work by granting small-business support funds to the Fremont and Kirkland Chambers of Commerce.
Tableau's announcement follows news that Salesforce will invest $20 million in five major public-school districts across the US-empowering them to provide equitable, safe and connected learning from anywhere. For more details, visit https://www.salesforce.com/company/news-press/press-releases/2020/08/sal....
About Tableau Foundation
The Tableau Foundation is a philanthropic initiative led by the employees of Tableau Software that encourages the use of facts and analytical reasoning to solve the world's problems. Tableau Foundation grants combine Tableau's two most valuable resources - its people and its products - with financial support to nonprofits that are using data to reshape communities around the globe. To learn more, visit www.tableaufoundation.org.