Thanks to students who put their writing skills and imaginations to the test to highlight the needs of their schools, four public schools across the U.S., including one in Arizona, will each receive a $25,000 grant from Lowe’s and its Charitable and Educational Foundation.
The winning schools were announced today after more than 4,000 students wrote Letters to Lowe’s as part of a campaign celebrating ten years of the company’s Toolbox for Education grants program. Lowe’s used the student letter-writing campaign as a platform to encourage teachers to have open conversations with their students about ways to improve their school.
Denver teacher Kyle Schwartz, an education advocate who brought national awareness to the challenges faced by students by tweeting her students’ responses to the phrase “I wish my teacher knew,” supported the Letters to Lowe’s campaign and inspired school communities from California to Maine to submit their students’ letters to Lowe’s.
“For the 10th anniversary of Lowe’s Toolbox for Education, we wanted to bring a powerful new voice into the process – students,” said Joan Higginbotham, Lowe’s director of community relations. “Many public schools face challenges to meet the basic needs of their students. We wanted to empower students to make a change by allowing them to share what they believe their school truly needs.”
Lowe’s selected 10 finalists from student letters from across the country and then invited the public to vote for the four schools they felt most needed improvements. The following schools will each receive a $25,000 grant and support from Lowe’s Heroes employee volunteers to complete their projects:
Hiddenite Elementary School (Hiddenite, NC) – Fourth grader Callie wrote to Lowe’s about her school’s need for a playground refurbishment. She described cracked slides, the need for handicap accessible equipment and benches for kids to rest on as some of the reasons her school should receive the grant.
Lake County High School (Tiptonville, TN) – Twelfth grader Peyton told Lowe’s about the deteriorating conditions at his school that was built more than 50 years ago. He shared how awesome the teachers are at his school, but that the school needed an updated physical appearance the students could be proud of.
San Cayetano Elementary School (Rio Rico, AZ) – Fifth grader Sophia told Lowe’s about her school’s need for a sun shade on their playground to protect students from 90 to 100 degree temperatures in the spring and summer. She shared that parents tried to fundraise for the structure but were not able to raise enough funds.
Berkeley Springs High School (Berkeley Springs, WV) – Twelfth grader Kaitlyn wrote to Lowe’s for help with getting her school more access to technology. She said many of the students at her school do not have high-speed internet at home and that the computer lab is always booked.
For 10 years, Lowe’s Toolbox for Education® has awarded grants benefiting more than 6 million K-12 public school students. Every spring and fall, teachers and school administrators across the country are awarded grants from Lowe’s towards projects including refurbishments and safety improvements. Schools interested in applying for future Toolbox for Education grants can find more information on toolboxforeducation.com. The next spring grants cycle opens on December 18, 2015.
Lowe’s, a FORTUNE® 50 home improvement company, has a 50-year legacy of supporting the communities it serves through programs that focus on K-12 public education and community improvement projects. Since 2007, Lowe’s and the Lowe’s Charitable and Educational Foundation together have contributed nearly $200 million to these efforts, and for more than two decades Lowe’s Heroes employee volunteers have donated their time to make our communities better places to live. To learn more, visit Lowes.com/SocialResponsibility and LowesInTheCommunity.tumblr.com.