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John Jordan Foundation: Teacher Wish Lists

With tighter budgets for public education, teachers in Sonoma County increasingly find themselves taking money from their own pockets to purchase basic supplies, special projects and even books for their classrooms. The John Jordan Foundation bridges some of these gaps with its Teacher’s Wishes Initiative. The goal is simple: to make wishes come true.

The Teacher’s Wishes program set a new record in 2019 with grants touching more than 12,000 students. The foundation received 239 applications and funded 118 grants. The teachers who weren’t funded received a $20 gift card to Office Depot. “Each year, Teacher’s Wishes reminds me of the creativity and desire of educators to provide an interactive and interesting environment for their students,” said executive director Lisa Wittke Schaffner of JJF in a prepared statement. “ But since the 2017 fires, we’ve seen an increase in requests for alternative kinds of seating like wobble balls and funds for quiet corners—a place for young people to take deep breaths, read or practice relaxation.”

A number of applications were particularly inspiring. For example, applications from Roseland requested an Airplane Club for students to explore aviation careers and graphing calculators for the physics sections. Mark West requested lab coats, so elementary students would feel like real scientists. Gravenstein Elementary requested a grant to build a sensory garden. Some wishes fulfilled are for basic needs such as a sink, requested by Lawrence Jones Middle School.

Since JJF started in 2012, the organization has supported more than 220 partner organizations, and more than 1,000 teachers have received grants for their classrooms and schools. For more information, visit

Special Delivery at Terra Linda High School

The shop students at Terra Linda High School, located in San Rafael, and their teacher, Allison Oropallo, received a surprise delivery on Nov. 8 when a Golden State Lumber semi-truck arrived at the school.  Representatives from the recently expanded Marin Builders Association Scholarship and Workforce Development Fund delivered new lumber, tools and building materials worth nearly $2,000 as part of an industry educational support effort.

Brian McLeran of McLeran Roofing, one of the association’s directors and a construction education advisory committee member, spearheaded the effort and coordinated the delivery of supplies. The delivery is part of a larger workforce development initiative led by the Marin Builders Association that includes the newly-formed North Bay Construction Corps, Marin, which is sponsored by the Mario Ghilotti Family Foundation, the ROP Construction Technology Class at Redwood High School and the Education to Career Construction Academy that brings together the College of Marin, Canal Alliance and the Builders Association.

In a prepared statement, Rick Wells, chief executive officer of the Marin Builders Association stated, “We are honored to be aligned with industry professionals that care deeply about the future of our young people and the positive impact of our industry here in Marin.”




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