Philanthropic group answers call funding to help kids in need
Investing in education remains a top priority for the Scottsdale Charros—despite of and due to many uncertainties presented by the COVID-19 pandemic—as the philanthropic group gave $40,000 to Scottsdale Unified School District.
“I would like to thank the Charros for their generous contribution of $40,000 to support the work here at Scottsdale Unified School District,” said Dr. Scott A. Menzel, SUSD superintendent at the district’s regular board meeting held on Nov. 17.
“We are so fortunate to have partners like the Charros supporting Scottsdale Unified School District and the true winners as a result are the students,” he said, assuring that funds will be put to good use.
For nearly 60 years, the Scottsdale Charros have been instrumental supporters of public education and in constant pursuit of improving the lives of Scottsdale residents while preserving the community’s ties to its western heritage.
Patty Beckman, SUSD board vice president and Charros Foundation member, said she was “proud to bring up fellow members” as she invited four Charros education committee members in attendance to approach the podium to be recognized.
The group’s donation is said to be earmarked for addressing the social and emotional needs of students.
“In the world we are living in now, we started this thought before COVID hit; and I think even more so now with what these kids are going through, and all of you and our teachers as well,” said Ryan Schubert, a Charros education committee member. “We think these dollars will be put to great use and we look forward to keeping this issue in the forefront and working with the district to ensure that our students are taken care of.”
— Ryan Schubert
He detailed how the organization decided, about a year ago, to focus on addressing the social and emotional learning aspect within the district, noting a need for students in kindergarten through eighth grades who could benefit from an on-campus representative.
“We identified that the 18 schools could really be helped with a one day a week in-person professional that would be on the campus,” said Mr. Schubert, noting his hope that schools stay open for students. “Our students are hurting. They have many difficult issues to deal with so that they can be ready to learn. Our public schools have very limited resources to help our students in the area of social-emotional learning.”
Patron Jason Klonoski echoed a similar sentiment.
“We wanted to help our school district deal with the mental health issues that they confront in our students every day. Our donation will help the school district to provide counselors and support staff that our students need,” he said.
Mr. Klonoski was accompanied by fellow Charro, Mr. Schubert; Dennis Robbins, and Chris Rivera, who all serve in the group’s education committee, where the gentlemen cowboys were lauded for the group’s longtime efforts as supporters of public education.
Describing how the group historically focused on “more tangible things such as technology and robotics equipment” that lasts longer for schools, Mr. Klonoski noted, data and conversations presented to the committee demonstrated students’ increasing needs for emotional support.
“Our organization has been briefed by school district staff about the programs and procedures that they will use to improve the mental health of our students,” he said. “We understand where the money will be spent and are comfortable with our relationship with the school board and the district administration.”
The Charro Foundation, the charity arm of the Scottsdale Charros, which donates $400,000 annually towards public education initiatives, faced fundraising challenges in the wake of the pandemic, officials there report.
“This year, the pandemic canceled six of our 16 game schedule. We have canceled many of our events since the pandemic started,” Mr. Klonoski explained. “We are now preparing for the spring of 2021 and we are unsure of how spring training will be affected. We are hoping for the best and preparing for the worst.”
Throughout the challenges, he and the group maintain its mission and belief that a “solid education equips our children to lead a productive and meaningful life,” he said of continuing to do what they can for students who attend local schools since many of those students will someday be the community leaders.
“We love Scottsdale and want to invest in its future through educating our students,” Mr. Klonoski said. “We stand here humbly—here still ready to serve. We are honored and humbled to do so. We look forward to the next time we can present a check.”
A COMMITMENT TO PUBLIC EDUCATION IN SCOTTSDALE
“We love Scottsdale and want to invest in its future through educating our students. We stand here humbly—here still ready to serve. We are honored and humbled to do so.”–Jason Klonoski