The Hood River County Education Foundation (HRCEF) board approved a $20,000 gift to Hood River County School District (HRCSD) to support distance learning efforts in its Monday, Sept. 14, meeting.

This gift will support distance learning expenses such as headphones and digital pencils for Hood River County students, according to a district press release.

Board member of HRCEF, Dr. Pat Evenson Brady, said one important part of the foundation’s purpose is to support the school district so it can leverage more resources from around the state. HRCSD received state funds for increasing internet access for K-12 distance learning in unserved and underserved areas in response to the COVID-19 public health emergency.

As students learn remotely this fall, headphones are necessary for students who are using a learning space with other students where additional sound may become a distraction. Digital pencils are important for students who are using iPads for their coursework. 

After recognizing these challenges, the HRCEF board started raising funds and launched a match challenge due to an anonymous $12,500 pledge in spring 2020. Donors exceeded the match challenge, and HRCEF was able to grant HRCSD approximately $33,000 for COVID-19-related distance learning technology. 

The recent gift is a combination of funds raised through the spring match challenge as well as an emergency fund that was established to help in these types of unique circumstances.

HRCEF Executive Director Laurie Stephens said, “The HRCEF board felt compelled to help in any way it could. Donors have been generous in their response.”

HRCEF is a 501c3 Oregon nonprofit organization with an 18-member board composed of community members, teachers, principals and former district administrators. Donations may be made online at www.hrcef.org or by check (pay to the order of “HRCEF” and send to HRCEF, 1011 Eugene Street, Hood River, OR 97031). Designate  the “COVID-19 Fund” to support COVID-related expenses.

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