Maps Credit Union’s Community Foundation Awards $25,000 in Teacher Grants

Over the past two years, teachers have been challenged in ways they couldn’t have foreseen when they began their careers. Their extra efforts to help students continue learning during the pandemic have been nothing short of heroic.

Rewarding those efforts, the Maps Community Foundation has awarded 31 Mid-Willamette Valley region teachers grants totaling $25,000 to support innovative projects that will enhance education for K-12 students. It’s another example of how credit unions across the Northwest impact their communities outside of financial services.

The foundation’s Teacher Grant program honors Maps’ roots as an educators’ credit union founded in 1935. Local teachers are asked a $1,000 question: “How will this grant make a difference to your students?” This year, the foundation received 99 grant applications, and branch staff elected the winners.

One teacher grant is helping students at Valor Middle School in Woodburn learn music technology during distance learning.

The grant will fund a diverse array of projects in classrooms, after-school programs, and mental health initiatives. The winners teach students across all grade levels, from kindergarten to high school, in a wide variety of subjects.

“Our local teachers have put in so much extra effort over the past year and a half,” said Kim Hanson, Executive Director of Maps Community Foundation. “We are thrilled to be supporting them and their creative, inspiring projects.”

Kindergarten teacher Jenna Miller of Kalapuya Elementary School in Salem plans to use her grant to buy supplies for math and literacy centers that focus on sensory, fine motor skill development, and interactive play. Miller said such centers are needed because during the pandemic many students missed out on the opportunity to attend preschool and develop critical school readiness skills.

“We know that early intervention is the best way to set students up for success,” Miller said.

One educator will use grant funds to purchase gift cards to recognize and celebrate hardworking AVID students who have overcome barriers and are succeeding on the path toward college and career readiness.

Judson Middle School’s Lisa Squires will purchase items to create a Counseling Center that is inviting and calm. The center will support social and emotional learning and encourage students who may be experiencing grief, trauma, and anxiety.

“Our Counseling Center is more important this year than it ever has been,” said Judson Assistant Principal Craig King.

Other grants were awarded to teachers for a variety of initiatives that include building classroom libraries, purchasing STEM, art, and music supplies, supporting a school newspaper and art magazine, providing college field trips for students, and more.

For a complete list of teacher grant awards and to learn more about their projects, visit the Maps Community Foundation online.

Posted in CU Difference.