Desert Sands Educational Foundation Continues to Support Students

The mission of the Desert Sands Educational Foundation is to secure funding and award money to provide supplemental resources that enrich and enhance student learning in Desert Sands Unified School District.

This non-profit organization has spent the first few months of the school year doing just that and has a plan to fund classroom activities throughout the 2021-2022 school year.

Already this year, teachers throughout the district have completed applications for mini-grants supported by funds raised at the May 3, 2020 25th Annual Chili Dog Open (golf tournament). Over 30 applications have been received. A final review of the applications is currently underway with over $10,000 set to be awarded for classroom projects. The awards will be made in December.

The first major fundraising event of the year took place on November 6. Titled the Foundation Express, the journey by bus took guests to two homes located in the DSUSD area. Special thanks to Dr. Mark and Caroline Sofonio for allowing DSEF supporters to enjoy not only the hospitality of their home but gifting two live auction items of services by “Dr. Mark” who joined in the action of the bidding. Additional thanks to Jano and Vikki Montoya for opening their home for this unique fundraiser. The Peruvian dinner, a tribute to Jano’s heritage, is still being talked about. Sponsorships, ticket sales, plus live and silent auctions brought in over $17,000. Funds from this event will be distributed as mini-grants to support playground and physical education equipment purchases. The applications for these grants will be available soon for all DSUSD teachers.

The DSEF board and committees are working on two additional fundraising events for the school year. December 7 will find supporters at a kick off for the new Carol Cox Memorial Scholarship. The event will be taking place at Casuelas Café in Palm Desert. Information on the event is available at Carol spent 23 years as a coach and teacher in Desert Sands and lived her life giving to her students. She was that teacher who bought shoes for a team member in need, made sure that her students had yearbooks, and helped pay for summer camps. That legacy will live on with the memorial scholarship set up in her name.

DSUSD Educational Foundation Supports Students

The Foundation Express fundraiser held in November.

February 26 is the date for the Second Annual Foundation Gala to be held at the Renaissance Esmeralda in Indian Wells. More details will be available soon but rumors of a theme and honoree are already circulating.

In addition to fundraising events, the Desert Sands Educational Foundation has recently been awarded a number of grants. As stewards of the Hunter Lopez Memorial Scholarship Fund, supporters have been making generous donations in the name of Corporal Lopez, a La Quinta High School graduate who was killed recently in service to his country. For information on the scholarship or to donate, click here. Very special thanks to the Phil Mickelson Foundation for a leadership gift of $10,000.

The Mickelson Foundation also donated $25,000 to the foundation for the purpose of defraying the cost to Desert Sands students taking AP and IB exams (Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate).

DSUSD Educational Foundation Supports Students

City of Indio Public Information Officer Brooke Beare on Classroom Conversations.

Director of Community Engagement and DSEF Sean Webb noted that “community support continues and we are grateful to so many individuals and organizations”. He particularly pointed out the grant from the city of Indio allowing the foundation and district to continue the online “talk show” Classroom Conversations. Sponsor of the You’ve Got IT Employee Recognition Program, CV Harvest Box, provides boxes of fresh local produce to staff members. Restaurants from throughout the community, through this program, provide discounts to DSUSD staff members who proudly show proof of employment.

Desert Sands Educational Foundation (DSEF) was established in 2010 as a non-profit 501(c)3 organization. They have a strong mission and they remain committed to further providing classroom funding for today’s projects and those that have yet to be imagined. For more information on the foundation and to support their mission, click here.

Photo caption above: Diane Romero, LBJ Instructional coach, receives her Harvest Box following her name being drawn from the monthly nominees.

Image Sources

  • Fundraiser: DSUSD
  • Harvest box: DSUSD