Peoples Bank announced that it has awarded the Teachers of Color (TOC) Foundation a $25,000 Peoples Bank Impact Grant to support its goal of increasing teacher diversity in the Edmonds School District. The funds will be used to provide scholarships to selected Edmonds School District staff of color to obtain their teaching certificates and pursue careers in education. Scholarship funds help cover tuition costs, books and test fees, support services and mentoring, race and equity training, emergency funding access, professional development, and student teaching stipends.
The TOC Foundation was formed in 2016 in response to the feedback received from Edmonds School District students and school community members regarding equity in education. The Edmonds School District is comprised of 55 percent students of color, while the teaching staff is nearly 90 percent white.
“Teachers of color can serve as cultural brokers, not only able to help students navigate their school environment and culture, but also to increase the involvement of the students’ family,” said Diana White, President of the Teachers of Color Foundation. “This grant from Peoples Bank is more than just critical funding to support our work. It is a validation of what we do and the importance of giving students of color role models who look like them, who come from similar backgrounds, and who are influential in their lives.”
Since its formation, the TOC Foundation has awarded annual scholarships to 12 scholars. Of these, four have graduated and are teaching in Edmonds School District classrooms, and six will graduate in 2021. The remaining scholars will graduate in the next year or two. The scholarship program did not add any new scholars in 2020 due to the pandemic.
“Recognizing and taking steps to address racial disparities within our institutions and communities is a critical first step in creating a more fair and inclusive society,” said Lisa Hefter, Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer at Peoples Bank. “We are humbled to support the work of the Teachers of Color Foundation and to have an opportunity to make a difference in the lives of our future educators and the students who look up to them.”
The Peoples Impact Grant program was launched in 2017 to help fund a specific project, use, or identified purpose that will have a long-lasting, positive impact on the community. Previous recipients include Skagit Habitat for Humanity, Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Services of Whatcom County, and Northwest Youth Services.
Each year, Peoples Bank donates hundreds of thousands of dollars in financial support to local and regional nonprofit organizations providing valuable services in the arts, child and family services, education, health and social services, and civics. The bank also allows employees to use work hours to volunteer in the community and encourages community members to help others through fun and creative giving campaigns. For more information about Peoples Bank’s community giving, visit www.peoplesbank-wa.com/about-us/community-giving.