Dates Active: January 18 - February 28
"Life's most persistent and urgent question is, 'What are you doing for others?'"
-Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Malcolm X waiting for a press conference in 1964 (via Library of Congress)
In many ways, honoring the life and legacy of Martin Luther King feels more relevant now than ever. The impact of Dr. King’s work to push the United States closer to the values of equality and prosperity outlined by the nation’s founding fathers cannot be overstated. While there are countless other civil rights activists and leaders before and after Dr. King who should also be celebrated, he left a special mark on this country. It has been difficult year. Dr. King's dream of a united country with equality and justice for all people has yet to be realized. And it is clear we still have a long way to go.
Martin Luther King Day is a federally recognized day of service. One of the vital ways we can live out his legacy is by taking tangible steps to speak out against injustice, as well as find ways to serve others, especially those in need.
This year, to honor and celebrate Dr. King’s legacy, our Diversity and Inclusion Council is launching our first ever MLK School Supply Drive in partnership with the Kids in Need Foundation.
Supporting under-served children through the Populus Project has always been a focus for us, but in light of the challenges school age children faced throughout the pandemic, this population urgently needs support. COVID-19 has had a disproportionate impact on black and brown communities. Children who were already underserved and under-resourced have faced new and unimaginable struggles as they and their families grapple with remote learning. So have their teachers.
The Kids in Need Foundation’s mission is to support teachers and students in under-resourced schools across America. Over the last 25 years, they have donated over $1 billion of school supplies to schools with 60% or more of the student population on free or reduced lunch.
We are thankful for the chance to give back to underserved students, as well as their teachers, and we hope you will participate too! The funds we raise will go to under-funded schools in the regions we have offices (Chicago, Detroit, Minneapolis and Seattle).
It is our hope that you will join with us to celebrate Dr. King’s legacy today, and every day, with generosity of spirit, a commitment to justice, and that you find a way to give back to those who need it most. It is our actions, large and small, that will truly celebrate the life of Dr. King and move us closer to equality.
Everything you need to know about the drive:
About the Kids in Need Foundation
The Kids in Need Foundation believes every child in America should have equal opportunity and access to a quality education.
They partner with teachers and students in under-resourced schools to provide the resources they need.
Through their programs and network of 42 resource centers across the country, they have provided over $1 billion in school supplies over the last 25 years. In fact, each year they put over $100 million of supplies in the hands of the students and teachers who need them to most.
The drive will run through February, Black History Month.
Where the $ Goes
Every dollar donated to the drive will go directly to providing students and teachers in underserved schools with the supplies they need. The KiNF has partnerships with school supply companies, allowing them to purchase supplies at cost, so each dollar goes further to close the opportunity divide. The schools in KiNF’s network have student populations with 70% of students or more on free or reduced lunch. These are the students and schools who are the most under-resourced and underserved.
How You Can Help
Donate what you can. Every dollar helps! Every $250 dollars supplies a teacher with all the supplies they need for their classroom for a semester. Because of remote learning regulations due to COVID-19, students must have a set of school supplies that they leave at home, and one that they leave in their cubby or desk at school. Shared community supplies are not allowed, to reduce transmission through sharing supplies. The need for students and teachers is higher than it’s ever been. By supplying a teacher with the supplies they need for the class, they’re able to ensure supplies find the students who need them the most.
Share this drive with your friends, co-workers and family! Send an email (transcript for you to start with here!), share this post on your social media ( or download the graphic here!), text a link to the donations page (https://www.kinf.org/populusgroup/) to a friend! If you can multiply your impact through your network, this drive can really help to empower those who need support most.