Each month we focus on a Southern Arizona non-profit with our Giving ProjectDoing Well by Doing Good.

For August, we’re taking a look at how the Educational Enrichment Foundation (EEF) has been helping Tucson Unified School Districts’ students succeed since 1983.

“We’re so glad to have them as a partner, because when you have the volume of students that we haveand the diverse needs of students that are out therewe just need someone like EEF to help meet those individualized needs for families and kids.” ~Kamren Taravati, TUSD Sr. Director of EDI

Originally started by Tucson community and business leaders, EEF has been helping TUSD students for 40 years now.

Today, with over 41,000 students in 89 schools, EEF is going strong, making sure students’ basic needs don’t fall through the cracks.

“We do things from basic needs for the studentshead-to-toe basic needs, I call them,” says EEF Executive Director Dawn Bell.

“Then we also do other programs that are educational. We have put in a STEM lab, a beautiful interactive STEM lab in Maldonado Elementary. We’ve put in… an ESports lab at Utterback Middle School,” Bell says.

EEF is the oldest foundation of its kind in the state and relies on corporate and individual donors.

They have several programs to help students and their families, including a vision program to get students fitted for glasses.

EEF also takes students on a bus trip shoe shopping.

“They walk in and they’re looking around because they hadn’t been there before. They say ‘this is my first time at Sketchers’ and they’re so excited,” EEF Program Manager Drisana Ross says. “Sometimes they’ll run up and give you hugs afterwards.”

Programs like EEF’s shoe shopping events aren’t just a treat for the kids, Tremain Ravenell, EFF’s Community Outreach and Development Manager tells me.

“The top two I would say is the shoe shopping for sure, because it’s Christmas morning in whatever month it is; and then definitely interscholastics, because I played sports in TUSD. So, I definitely have a personal connection there,” says Ravenell.

Last year, EEF helped 13,0000 TUSD students with with things like those fees for extracurricular activities.

“For fine arts it’d be $50. For sports $65. When you have several kiddos in a family playing sports, or even one kiddo playing multiple sports, those add up. Kids who qualify for free or reduced lunch qualify for our programs,” Ross says.

Even though EEF has been around since 1983, they’re still trying to get the word out that they’re here to help kids in need in TUSD.

“It’s organizations like EEF that do just amazing things for kids. Gosh, we need more and more organizations like them,” Taravati says.

To make a donation to the Education Enrichment Foundation, text: givingproject to 50155, or use the form below.

All of the money raised goes directly to EEF.

Our partners in the Giving Project, the Community Foundation for Southern Arizona, will again match the first $500 in donations.