Giving Compass’ Take:
• Business owners Lynda and Stewart Resnick turned to place-based philanthropy and built Wonderful College Prep charter school in Lost Hills, California, to invest in education opportunities for their farm workers’ families.
• Are there opportunities for you to invest in your community?
• Here are some lessons from place-based philanthropy.
As a veil of morning fog slowly succumbs to the sun, Lost Hills emerges like a town that time forgot. Dust from nearby orchards sweeps by empty bus shelters, past a grove of uprooted almond trees stacked in heaps 20 feet high, and through a mobile home park where roosters guard abandoned cars and soot-covered trailers seem to admit defeat. The percentage of residents in this Central Valley town who boast a bachelor’s degree sits at 0. Farm work is a mainstay here, but it doesn’t provide much of a living: Farm workers earned an average of $17,500 in 2015, well below the federal poverty line of $25,750 for a family of four.
But on the town’s south side, the campus of the Wonderful College Prep Academy sparkles with a fresh coat of paint. A bright blue door opens to Acacia Briceño’s English class. They are reading the poem “I, Too” by Langston Hughes, and the time has come to dissect the third stanza, where the protagonist decides to stand up to bigotry.
The business owners who employ many of the farmworkers here built the $29 million campus in 2017. The charter school, which serves kindergarten through eighth graders, is the second in a chain started by Lynda Resnick and her husband, Stewart.
“This is my legacy,” said Resnick from her office at Wonderful headquarters in West Los Angeles. Unhappy with the global but ill-defined reach of her charitable work, Resnick turned to place-based philanthropy and began to wonder what she could do for her Central Valley employees. “And of course, education is the most important thing. I want to change the paradigm of poverty in the Central Valley.”
Read the full article about place-based philanthropy by Alfonso Serrano at The Hechinger Report.
Interested in learning more about K-12 Education? Other readers at Giving Compass found the following articles helpful for impact giving related to K-12 Education.
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If you are ready to take action and invest in causes for Charter Schools, check out these Giving Funds, Charitable Organizations and Projects related to Charter Schools.