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When COVID Put the Kibosh on Clovis, Fresno, Central Fundraisers, They Pivoted



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October is the time of year when Fresno-area school districts or their foundations schedule big fundraiser breakfasts, lunches, and dinners at which superintendents deliver “State of the District” speeches.

Nancy Price

School Zone

This year, COVID-19 made it inadvisable to squeeze hundreds of people together in the same venue. S0 educators and their supporters are turning to Plan B.

For Fresno Unified, Plan B is the IPledge Walk/Run for the Class of 2021. The district said Wednesday that corporate and community sponsors have already pledged more than $40,000, and officials hope that the community will help raise funds with a 5K Walk/Run that will be held virtually in October.

Funds raised will support Fresno Unified’s scholarship fund, which last year awarded $118,000 in scholarships to 61 graduating seniors. The annual State of Education luncheon has been the major source of support for the scholarship fund in years past.

Donors can register here for the event.

Donations also can be made directly to the district’s scholarship fund. Checks should be made payable to Central Valley Community Foundation with the memo: Fresno Unified School District Scholarship Fund. They can be mailed to Central Valley Community Foundation, 5260 N. Palm Ave., Suite 122, Fresno, CA 93704.

Central Unified

Central Unified’s State of the District will be broadcast live on Oct. 7 on CMAC and on Facebook and YouTube, Serena Dohi, executive director of the Foundation for Central Schools, told trustees last week. The winners of 18 classroom project grants will be announced during the broadcast, Dohi said.

Superintendent Andy Alvarado and foundation chairman Joe Doyland will speak during the broadcast.

Dohi said the State of the District will still have dinners this year, although supporters will need to swing by Central East High School between 4:30 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. that day. The cost is $30 per dinner (featuring brisket, chicken, and peach cobbler), and the foundation is also offering a Buy 1. Donate 1. deal for $55, with the second meal going to Creek Fire responders, she said. The last day to order is Thursday, Oct. 1.

The fundraiser also includes a spirit box with a T-shirt, coffee tumbler, and mask for $40. Dinners and spirit boxes can be purchased at the foundation’s Facebook shop.

Clovis Unified

Clovis Unified School District’s fundraising arm, the Foundation for Clovis Schools, asked Superintendent Eimear O’Farrell to hold a series of small (10 people or so) meetings with community groups to talk about the State of the District instead of delivering it to hundreds of people at the Clovis Veterans Memorial District building. O’Farrell told the trustees last week that her first meeting was Sept. 22.

There’s no donation required to attend O’Farrell’s State of the District chats, but foundation trustees are following up with requests for contributions, district spokeswoman Kelly Avants said.

Meanwhile, the foundation is still engaged in other fundraising efforts that occur throughout the year, she said.

Nancy Price is a multimedia journalist for GV Wire. A longtime reporter and editor who has worked for newspapers in California, Florida, Alaska, Illinois and Kansas, Nancy joined GV Wire in July 2019. She previously worked as an assistant metro editor for 13 years at The Fresno Bee. Nancy earned her bachelor's and master's degrees in journalism at Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism. Her hobbies include singing with the Fresno Master Chorale and volunteering with Fresno Filmworks. You can reach Nancy at 559-492-4087 or Send an Email