Hi my name is Laura Lau. I’m the Lead Grant Development and Support Specialist for the School District of Philadelphia. Besides writing grants for District-wide initiatives, I’m responsible for helping principals, teachers, school staff, parents, caregivers, home and school associations, friends of groups, and nonprofits, collectively known as school communities, to plan and develop their priority projects to benefit students and schools.

This includes discussing grant opportunities with them, editing their grant proposals, listening to their concerns if their project isn’t funded, coaching them in best practices in fundraising and sometimes connecting them to offices in the Education Center. At every first meeting I have with school communities, people always say ‘I love my school.’’

Here’s a list of recently funded projects by school communities, including other school supporters such as foundations and corporations:  beginning in Northeast Philly, we have middle school students becoming creators in makerspaces; in Southwest Philly, elementary kids are playing and learning in a STEM school playground; Northwest Philly, students are climbing a rock wall as part of physical education; South Philly has new Philadelphians from around the world learning English by coding drones to monitor environmental issues in the Wissahickon Valley Creek; in West Philly, budding visual artists are making masterpieces; in North Philly, Pre-K kids are learning about farm animals in the agricultural room. In the basement of the Education Center, students are using state of the art equipment to make videos in the PSTV studios.  Across Philadelphia, K-3 teachers are using classroom libraries and new lessons they learned to teach literacy to their students; the sound of music is in the air with newly repaired instruments in the hands of students; AED heart monitors are in every school, ready when necessary; and let’s not forget, our recent grads who returned to the District to start careers as apprentice plumbers and electricians. 

This is just a sample of projects that were once dreams, words on paper or in an email and now an exciting reality. We are doing this together. This is the power of school communities in action. 

Thank you to all our school communities and their supporters who dream of possibilities to make it happen for Philly Public School students.

If you’d like to make another dream become a reality for a school or show your love of Philly Public Schools, please check out Philly FUNDamentals to find a school, fund a future.