School is Cool Provides Supplies for 1,600 Poudre School District Students; Colorado State Outreach Program Has Banner Donations

Note to Editors: Note to Media: A number of volunteers will assemble all of the donated supplies and backpacks from 8 a.m. until about noon tomorrow, Aug. 9, in Edwards Hall. Each backpack contains a complete set of supplies that meet requirements by individual schools and grade levels. Supply-filled backpacks are distributed privately to children by school administrators.

The annual Colorado State University school supply drive to benefit local elementary and junior high school children, called School Is Cool, has reached a record-breaking high in fundraising, with donations of more than $34,000.

The annual program, in its 14th year, provides learning essentials to students whose families struggle each fall to afford crayons, pencils, notebooks, backpacks and rulers. The program will provide backpacks filled with grade-specific supplies to nearly 1,600 children in the Poudre School District for the 2005-2006 school year. This year, all funds donated by university employees from July 1 through Aug. 4 were matched dollar-for-dollar by the Bohemian Foundation.

Each year, School Is Cool is organized and supported by Colorado State employees. University volunteers gather donated supplies and purchase needed supplies with financial donations to the program, compile the supplies according to each school’s grade-specific list and the number of backpacks requested by each school, then fill each individual backpack and deliver them to each school for distribution by administrators. This year, volunteers will assemble backpacks on Tuesday, Aug. 9, and deliver them on Wednesday, Aug. 10.

"The generosity of the Colorado State community never ceases to amaze me," said Kathy Phifer, founder of the program and an employee in University Relations. "Each year they continue to dig deeper into their pockets to ensure that children in Fort Collins will start the school year with the supplies and the self-confidence they need to succeed academically. When you combine the employees’ gifts of dollars and time with the incredible gifts from the Bohemian Foundation, Norlarco and the Colorado State bookstore, it is just awesome to know that so many children will benefit from this collaboration."

More than 4,100 elementary and junior-high students in Poudre School District participate in the free and reduced-price lunch program. The number of backpacks distributed to each school is based on the school’s percentage of students enrolled in this special lunch program.

All of the supplies that are donated or purchased by the program are done so with money given by university employees, and the money directly benefits students within the Poudre School District.

Last year, Colorado State employees raised $21,500 and assisted 1,334 students by filling and delivering backpacks to 36 schools through School is Cool.

     A $20 gift from a university staff member sponsors a backpack filled with school supplies, and matching funds provide supplies and a backpack for another child.

     School is Cool is also supported with a donation from Norlarco Credit Union and supplies from the Colorado State University Bookstore.

School Is Cool was launched in 1992. That year, 63 backpacks were distributed to Poudre School District elementary and junior-high students.