UCLA Ed & IS: The Difference That Giving Makes

Students from Mann UCLA Community School and UCLA graduate students need supplies to keep up with studies and basic everyday needs.

UCLA Education and Information Studies thanks the many donors who have given to our UCLA Spark Campaign that was launched last week on Giving Tuesday.  The school invited alumni, faculty, staff and friends to give in support of three areas: the UCLA Education Students Emergency Fund, the UCLA Information Studies Student Emergency Fund, and the Friends of Mann UCLA Community School Fund toward support for the families at our partner K-12 school.

The spirit of giving so many of you have shown to our community has been inspiring. As of Wednesday evening, eight days after launching the Campaign, we have 105 donors for a total of almost $15,000 donated. The Campaign will run through June 1.  For those who would like to make a gift to one of these three funds, go HERE. We thank you!

We chose Mann UCLA Community School as one of the three areas of support because of the immense need of the families in this South Los Angeles neighborhood.  While societies across the world are united in their fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, a message of thanks from a student at Mann UCLA Community School in South Los Angeles is a reminder that so many students are without the resources needed to thrive in the midst of stay-at-home orders and remote learning and working.

“The supplies are helping my online school and making it easier for me and my Mom. She doesn’t have to stress about me not having the right things and I want to thank Ms. [Darlene] Tieu,” the student wrote. “The materials helped me to be able to take notes for my language class and pass the class while all of the stores are packed or closed. 

“Using a calculator in math is essential and getting provided one was very important because phone calculators are less reliable. I had no pencils and I can’t use pens forever. Using a mouse instead of the touch pad is more comfortable and easier. The soap saved my Mom some money so she doesn’t have to buy any for me or my brother so she can use more money for food or washing clothes.”

“The teachers at Mann take care of our students everyday,” says Tieu, who teaches chemistry at Mann UCLA Community School. “It has always been more than just supporting their academics. When COVID-19 impacted our school, there was never a doubt that caring for our students would continue.

“Through their “Keep Kids Learning” program on DonorsChoose.com, donors gave me the opportunity to provide immediate support to our students as we figured out a long term plan. Our students and their families are the most vulnerable right now and any support we can provide will go a long way in alleviating the stress of these uncertain times.”

Since 2016, Christine Shen has served as director of the UCLA Community Schools Initiative. and works with UCLA Education faculty and leaders and with the teachers at what was previously Horace Mann Middle School to improve educational outcomes. The school – now called Mann UCLA Community School  — has achieved increased enrollment from 260 students to 550 and has expanded through high school, with this year’s juniors becoming the first class of seniors next year. A rise in test scores, opening a counseling clinic on-site, the ability to hire a credentialed teacher for every classroom for the first time in over 20 years, and securing college scholarships for 22 students have been among Mann UCLA’s accomplishments under Shen’s leadership alongside Principal Orlando Johnson and his staff.

“Because of our high-needs student population, the national pandemic has severely increased challenges our families experience daily – including food insecurity, limited access to remote learning tools, high levels of stress, grief and trauma,” says Shen. “We believe that about 100 of our students are homeless or living in unsafe circumstances and we are trying to find them to provide support. 

“A grassroots campaign was started by a teacher and she was able to raise $1,400 to mail care packages home for families. Requests included soap, toothpaste, detergent, pencils, paper, headphones, wi-fi hotspots, food, and snacks. The needs and asks from our students continue to grow as school remains closed. This fundraising campaign continues the efforts from our teachers as we work to provide financial assistance to every one of our 500 children and their families, focusing on our neediest students first.” 

Our students at the UCLA Graduate School of Education and Information Studies are also in great need of support.  The rapid and unforeseen changes in the pandemic have led students to experience some major uncertainty in their daily lives, disruption to on-campus learning, unexpected housing and food expenses, medical care, the extra responsibility and cost of educating their children at home, and limited income revenues from lay-offs or unavailability of jobs or work-study positions. 

A gift to the Education Student Emergency Fund and/or the Information Studies Student Emergency Fund can be directed to help students who are experiencing financial emergencies. 

“We are a community of educators, researchers, librarians, information professionals, and scholars – individuals who have chosen careers that will serve our communities in important ways,” says Wasserman Dean Marcelo Suárez-Orozco. “As a scholarly institution facing these circumstances, we must now reaffirm our commitment to every member of our community, including those who have traveled to UCLA from around the globe. The ethic of care must animate our shared work. Today more than ever kindness, respect, and compassion are of paramount importance.”

Donors to the UCLA Graduate School of Education & Information Studies will benefit from the Congressional Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act), which provides charitable giving tax provisions. One example is the funding of a charitable gift annuity to UCLA Ed & IS, which would secure fixed income and tax advantages for the giver.

To support one of these funds, visit the UCLA Spark website.

To learn more about the CARES Act and for more ideas on ways to give to UCLA Ed & IS in 2020, view this PDF.

For further information about planned gifts or annuities, contact Ervin Rodriguez, Assistant Director of Gift Planning, at (310) 794-2139 or email at erodriguez@support.ucla.edu.