PANAMA CITY — The Bay Education Foundation has launched a campaign that aims to give back to education foundations in need after Hurricane Ian's impact.
In a Monday news conference, Bay Education Foundation leaders announced the start of the weeklong Bay Ed Gives Back donation campaign, which will raise funds for students and teachers in Southwest Florida regions affected by the storm.
The campaign, which lasts through Friday, will match up to $20,000 of the money raised to donate to the education foundations in Lee, Seminole and Collier counties. The funds will be split proportionally among the foundations.
Donations can be made through the foundation's website at bayeducationfoundation.org/give.
'Many counties came to our rescue'
Bay Education Foundation President Larry Carroll said he knows what it's like to rebuild from a storm.
“After Hurricane Michael, many counties came to our rescue by sending money and help our way, so we understand that the people that were affected by Hurricane Ian need any help they can get so that they can continue on with their work,” Carroll said. “This gives us an opportunity to thank those who helped us and to support teachers and students in those affected communities.”
Aaron Rich, secretary of the foundation, said the community’s support is what will help bring normalcy back to the classrooms.
“As a community, we can see the benefits of all the help we got during a time of need. A lot of education foundations came together to help us after Hurricane Michael, so now it’s our turn to do the same for them,” Rich said. “It’s a great opportunity to make your dollar go further and this way we can help a lot of people.”
How the donations are spent
After Hurricane Michael’s impact four years ago, the Bay Education Foundation played an important role in getting the school district the help students and teachers needed by administering grants and donations from around the country.
The funds raised will help students and teachers replace the resources they need to have classrooms operating as normally as possible. Sharon Michalik, spokesperson for the school district, recalls that the donations were helpful in many ways for the district after the storm's impact.
“We discovered that teacher's personal items lost were not covered by the district’s insurance, so the donations made to the Bay Education Foundation helped replace a lot of those items,” Michalik said. “And they were also instrumental in helping up connect teachers to resources on a personal level.
“Anything that can help stabilize the employees are the kinds of initiatives that are going on now in other counties, and we want to step in and try to help provide some of those resources that were provided for us,” Michalik said.
This article originally appeared on The News Herald: Bay Education Foundation raising funds for Ian-ravaged school districts