The South Pasadena Council PTA on Thursday, September 3, presented a substantial check of $110,280.59 to the South Pasadena Unified School District (SPUSD). In what was a joint effort put forth by local organizations, parents, teachers, and students to raise funds for the district, all the proceeds will go towards keeping many safe during the COVID-19 pandemic as schools still continue to adjust to an unusual system.
Kathy Baumann, President of the SPCTA explains that the fundraising began as early as the end of the school year this past June when Superintendent Dr. Geoff Yantz had approached her and other PTA presidents asking if they would be interested in helping fundraise for PPP equipment and other safety measures that needed to be implemented in schools.
Heartened by the community’s support, Baumann tells the South Pasadenan News that a lot of the drive came from a quick response to help in the endeavor. “We’d been hearing from parents that they wanted to help in the community, that they wanted a way to donate,” she says, “So we took them up, and we organized this fundraiser.”
On deck, representing the Board of Education, to obligingly receive the check were President Dr. Michele Kipke and Board Clerk Dr. Ruby Kalra. Others who were present were those who had helped raise the money through various programs: D.U.D.E.S, represented by Ed Donnelly, Jeff Rosenberg, Brook Collins, and T. Kurera; Jim Dowd, President for the SPHS PTSA; Grace Kung of the SPMS PTA; Judy Woo, SPCTA VP; and Lindsay Michaels and Sydney Morrow, two SPHS students who organized a virtual 5k run.
“Immediately this was something that fit right into our mission,” says Donnelly, founder of D.U.D.E.S, “When we founded the organization, it was to help the PTA, to help the kids, to help the schools, to help the community.”
On July 4th, Donnelly and the D.U.D.E.S had formulated a venture that doubled as a more personalized replacement to the cancelled annual Festival of Balloons parade and as a fundraiser for schools in South Pasadena. “Our idea was we’re gonna take the parade to the people,” he says, explaining the additional incentives that came with contributing to the cause, “We had tiered donations where people could contribute and get ‘I love South Pas’ facemasks. The top 10 donors also got a signed exclusive print from one of Disney’s Imagineers.” According to Donnelly they were able to raise over $20,000 through that alone.
Knowing that tough times are both behind us and ahead, for people like Baumann and Donnelly, they aren’t at all surprised by the town’s willingness to pitch in for the kids. “We live in an amazing community and I totally expected it from South Pasadena residents,” says the SPCTA President, with Donnelly adding, “While many of us are stuck at home, our hearts are wide open and want to help others where we can.”