National network to provide free school supplies

National network to provide free school supplies

DAYTON, OH-Securing and distributing free learning tools to teachers and students in poorly funded school systems is the mission of several dozen separate organizations from across the country. Representatives from 17 different programs nationwide held a summit in Cincinnati in mid-January. The group gave enthusiastic support for the formation of a national network to serve as an umbrella organization and to facilitate accomplishing the network’s mission. The collaborative effort will offer a more efficient and cost-effective distribution system for providing classroom supplies to school districts that.may not otherwise get adequate quantities of even basic school items.

“Very important work was done here today,” said Scott Walters, executive director of the Dayton, Ohio-based SHOPA Foundation for Educational Excellence, and co-sponsor of the summit along with Cincinnati’s Crayons to Computers program. “Someday soon, this summit will be recognized as the catalyst behind the formation of a national force that is making a tremendous impact on our educational system.

An executive steering committee made up of the SHOPA Foundation, SHOPA, Crayons to Computers, Second Harvest Food Bank, World Vision, and a legal team will lay the foundation for the network. The steering committee is also charged with developing the most equitable way to distribute goods and funding throughout the network. The SHOPA Foundation will house and devise a system for educating existing and future partners about how best to set up, operate and merchandise distribution centers. Additional planned services include video instruction and online access and messaging for network partners. Second Harvest and World Vision will work within the network to provide assistance and direction.

The SHOPA Foundation for Educational Excellence is a 501 (c) (3) charitable organization founded in 1995 by donations from SHOPA, its member companies and other interested parties in support of public education in the United States. As part of its mission to recognize, promote and support initiatives that foster educational excellence, the SHOPA Foundation sponsors the Kids In Need Resource Centers in Atlanta, Chicago and Los Angeles.

SHOPA, founded in 1991, is a non-prof it trade association representing approximately 1,700 manufacturers, representatives, wholesalers, distributors, retailers, commercial/contract stationers, and service companies involved in the production, distribution and sale of school supplies and office products through mass retail and commercial channels.

Copyright B U S Publishing Group, Inc. Mar 1999

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