Fairfield County Businesses Join Forces To Support Education Equity, Launch Initial Campaign To Support Bridgeport Teachers And Students

Dec 09, 2020

Bank of America, First County Bank, Lapine Associates, Pitney Bowes, Synchrony, and Xerox Partner with Fairfield County’s Community Foundation to Address Region’s Education Disparities

(Norwalk, CT) – Capitalizing on the collaborative impact of our region’s philanthropic corporate sector, six local businesses today announced a partnership with Fairfield County’s Community Foundation (FCCF) to establish the Fairfield County Corporate Collaborative for Education Equity. A multi-year local impact and funding collective, the founding corporate members seek to foster educational equity in Fairfield County by helping to reduce and eliminate disparities which impact the region’s most vulnerable pre-K through 12th grade students, parents and guardians as well as teachers and staff.

Participating companies will work with FCCF to support local nonprofit organizations and initiatives in the Greater Bridgeport, Danbury, Norwalk, and Stamford regions with financial contributions, employee volunteerism and expertise, mentorship and internship opportunities, and other resources. The group’s first funding initiative will support virtual and in-class projects for Bridgeport Public Schools teachers.

“As business leaders we have an opportunity to support our community’s economic recovery while also addressing the educational disparities that impact far too many children and families in our county. Now more than ever, supporting education is critical to promoting equity, fairness and opportunity for all,” said Marc Lautenbach, President and CEO, Pitney Bowes, who first extended an invitation to the other companies to form the collaborative. “It is unacceptable that entrenched educational gaps sharply divide Connecticut students along racial, ethnic and economic lines. Stepping forward to help reduce these gaps is the right thing for all of us, and for all of our stakeholders.”

“We are grateful for the leadership of Bank of America, First County Bank, Lapine Associates, Pitney Bowes, Synchrony, and Xerox in forging this new education-focused collaborative,” said Juanita James, President and CEO, Fairfield County’s Community Foundation. “By pooling their philanthropic resources, leveraging the influence of their respective corporate brands, empowering their employees, and aligning around specific projects we believe we can make a meaningful and measurable difference in helping to close some of the opportunity gaps that exist in our region.”

$50,000 DonorsChoose Campaign for Bridgeport Public Schools Teachers

With today’s announcement, the Corporate Collaborative for Education Equity launched its first funding initiative, a $50,000 challenge grant to support Bridgeport Public Schools teachers and their students with DonorsChoose. Through DonorsChoose, public school teachers with classrooms in need create virtual and in-person classroom project requests and donors can give any amount to the project that inspires them. Individuals can support the campaign at https://www.donorschoose.org/fairfield-county-collaborative-BPT. As a result of the generosity of individual donors who support classroom project requests submitted by Bridgeport teachers to DonorsChoose, the $50,000 challenge grant will deliver $100,000 in total project funding. Public school teachers seeking funding for projects can learn more at https://www.donorschoose.org/teachers.

Teachers in Bridgeport have benefitted from a variety of classroom resources through DonorsChoose. Earlier this year, FCCF helped fund classroom projects for more than 120 teachers at Bridgeport Public Schools through a $25,000 challenge grant, which supported projects reaching more than 9,000 students. The collaborative hopes to fund similar campaigns with DonorsChoose in Danbury, Norwalk, and Stamford in 2021.

“With teachers and students facing the tough learning hurdles, providing the supplies to keep kids learning is vital,” said Shantaa Foster, Community Partnerships Manager, DonorsChoose. “We are delighted to be collaborating with Fairfield County’s Community Foundation again and with the new Fairfield County Corporate Collaborative for Education Equity to help Bridgeport Public School teachers with classroom project funding so they can more effectively teach their students.”

Advocating for Key Programs, Supporting Laptop Preparation for Students

The Fairfield County Corporate Collaborative for Education Equity has already worked together to support the continuation of Stamford Public Schools’ partnership with local nonprofit, Domus Kids, for the Domus Knights program at Stamford High School as well the program expansion to Westhill High. In addition, volunteers from Pitney Bowes, a founding member of the collaborative, will be working to support the preparation for students of new laptops in partnership with Bridgeport Public Schools’ Information Technology Services team starting this month.

The Fairfield County Corporate Collaborative for Education Equity expects to announce additional initiatives in early 2021. Local businesses of any size interested in supporting or joining should contact Mike Rosen (mrosen@fccfoundation.org) or Rebecca Mandell (rmandell@fccfoundation.org) at Fairfield County’s Community Foundation.