Pine-Richland Opportunities Fund

 The Pine-Richland Opportunities Fund (PROF) is a non-profit educational foundation committed to enriching and investing in the experiences of every Pine-Richland student through staff grants, student scholarships and community partnerships.


PROF GRANTS HELPS REVIVE OUTDOOR LEARNING SPACES AT HANCE

The Pine-Richland Opportunities Fund was pleased to help revive and expand the outdoor learning classroom at Hance Elementary School as part of the organization’s 2019-20 grants program. The Hance Habitat  includes a durable metal roof structure overlooking the existing outdoor amphitheater to be used by the staff as new outdoor classroom and collaboration area.  This innovative project exemplifies one of the pillars of PROF’s mission in working with community partners to enable Pine-Richland staff members’ outstanding ideas come to life.  Funding was made possible through Pennsylvania's Education Improvement Tax Credit (EITC) program via donations from NexTier Bank, First Commonwealth Bank, Trumbull Corporation and UPMC Health Systems.

“We are excited to be part of the Hance Habitat revival project, which will provide students and staff a safe, flexible and invigorating outdoor space in which to learn,” says Deborah Lund, PROF executive director. “It will be a wonderful space to experience lessons in STEAM subjects and engage in hands-on learning in the outdoors, as well as a place for teachers and staff to take a brain break during the day.”

PROF is a non-profit educational foundation committed to enriching and investing in the experiences of the Pine-Richland student community through staff grants, student scholarships and community partnerships. PROF’s fast grants program funds teacher and staff grant requests of $1,000 or less outside of its normal grant funding cycles. To help fund grants such as these, consider donating at www.prof-fund.org/donate.


PROF GRANT HELPS ENHANCE EXISTING SENSORY ROOM AT PRHS

You may recall news reports last summer about a new “sensory room” at the Pittsburgh International Airport for use by both children and adults on the autism spectrum to decompress from the stress of traveling. Would it surprise you to know that Pine-Richland High School has a sensory room of its own? Thanks to a grant from the Pine-Richland Opportunities Fund, the PRHS multi-sensory room saw some upgrades and additions.

What is a multi-sensory room, you may wonder? It is a dedicated space or room where sensory stimulation can be controlled (either intensified or reduced) to fit the therapeutic and/or educational needs of the user. They often include lighting effects, sensory activities (think blowing bubbles or play dough), tactile experiences involving different textures, soft items for sitting or laying on, and sound effects or rhythmic music. 

“While the primary use of this room will be to help engage and work with our special needs students, this multi-sensory room will also help teach students who participate in the Peer Buddies program how to use different techniques to support others by using sensory resources,” says Tracey Settembrino, PRHS special education teacher. “It may also be useful in our health and physical education curriculum in teaching mindfulness meditation and the importance of taking brain breaks for overall health and well-being.”

"Due to a lack of available grant funds for the year, PROF was only able to partially fund this grant request, but the hope is to fully fund the needs of the multi-sensory room in future grant cycles," says Deborah Lund, PROF’s executive director.

PROF is a non-profit educational foundation committed to enriching and investing in the experiences of the Pine-Richland student community through staff grants, student scholarships and community partnerships. PROF’s fast grants program funds teacher and staff grant requests of $1,000 or less outside of its normal grant funding cycles. To help fund grants such as these, consider donating at www.prof-fund.org/donate.


$9,270 DONATED TO NORTH HILLS COMMUNITY OUTREACH

We thank you so much for your compassion for our neighbors! Together, we raised $9,270 for North Hills Community Outreach!  Due to your overwhelming response, PROF raised our donation to $3,500 – which you generously matched – and then some!

Your thoughtful giving will provide much-needed services for families in our community.  As we stated in our letter to you, the NHCO will immediately put these funds to use to help our neighbors with their needs of food, clothing, emergency services and more. 

We continue to be amazed at the thoughtfulness of all who have contributed, especially during such uncertain times.  “Thank you” doesn’t seem nearly enough to express how grateful we are to be a part of such a caring community that supports one another – whether it is in this new initiative for our neighbors, PROF grants and scholarships programs, and in your time and talents you continuously share. 


PROF GRANT BRINGS AWARD-WINNING AUTHOR TO HANCE

Students at Hance Elementary School listened and learned from celebrated children’s author Daryl Cobb at an assembly in late February funded by the Pine-Richland Opportunities Fund FAST grants program.  Pulling materials from his 17 picture and chapter books, including the 2014 Mom’s Choice Award gold recipient “Baseball, Bullies and Angels,” Cobb shared writing and storytelling techniques using themes reflecting the RAMS WAY district-wide behavioral support and intervention initiative.

“Mr. Cobb’s presentation promoted a love of reading, the joy of writing and, at the same time, teaches what it means to be Respectful, Accountable, Motivated and Safe [RAMS Way],” says Kevin McKinney, library teacher at Hance, who applied for the grant. “I heard plenty of laughter and interaction from our students, which is always a terrific way to learn.”

The Pine-Richland Opportunities Fund is a non-profit educational foundation committed to enriching and investing in the experiences of the Pine-Richland student community through staff grants, student scholarships and community partnerships. PROF’s fast grants program funds teacher and staff grant requests of $1,000 or less outside of its normal grant funding cycles. To help fund grants such as these, consider donating at www.prof-fund.org/donate.


MARAVILLOSO! PROF FUNDS VIRTUAL REALITY VIEWERS FOR SPANISH CLASSES

Thanks to a fast grant from the Pine-Richland Opportunities Fund, students taking Spanish at the high school can more fully immerse themselves into Spanish life without physically leaving their classroom. The grant allowed the purchase of 30 Google cardboard virtual reality viewers, which use smartphone and VR apps to simulate real-life explorations of Spanish cities, cultural sites and events.

“We are excited for what these viewers can bring to our Spanish classrooms,” says PRHS Spanish teacher Tahnee Hines. “Our students will be able to experience climbing Machu Pichu, explore the Prado museum, and attend Spanish musical concerts as they learn more about geography and art in an exciting, immersive way.”  

The Pine-Richland Opportunities Fund is a non-profit educational foundation committed to enriching and investing in the experiences of the Pine-Richland student community through staff grants, student scholarships and community partnerships. PROF’s fast grants program funds teacher and staff grant requests of $1,000 or less outside of its normal grant funding cycles. To help fund grants such as these, consider donating at www.prof-fund.org/donate


JUMPING INTO FITNESS WITH PLYOMETRICS SET FUNDED BY PROF

Students at Hance Elementary School have access to a new fitness tool in part thanks to a fast grant from the Pine-Richland Opportunities Fund. The colorful plyometrics set will be used in all physical education classes, as well as during Morning Fit Club and Family Fitness Nights, says Hance PE teacher Matthew Hugus.

“Plyometric exercises are not only fun, they’re fundamental exercises that help build muscle tone and strength,” says Hugus, who applied for the grant funding. “They can dramatically improve coordination, endurance, speed and balance. Even if a child does not pursue athletics or dance, they still gain thebenefits of a fun and challenging exercise that improves coordination and core strength and gets their heart rates up.”  

The Pine-Richland Opportunities Fund is a non-profit educational foundation committed to enriching and investing in the experiences of the Pine-Richland student community through staff grants, student scholarships and community partnerships. PROF’s fast grants program funds teacher and staff grant requests of $1,000 or less outside of its normal grant funding cycles. To help fund grants such as these, consider donating at www.prof-fund.org/donate


PROF HELPS FUND NEW GRAPHIC NOVEL SECTION AT PRMS LIBRARY

Graphic novels – those written in comic-strip format – draw in the reluctant reader and, with the addition of pictures, increases reading comprehension, both goals at the middle school level. Yet, the library at Pine-Richland Middle School only contained a few until the Pine-Richland Opportunities Fund answered a fast grant proposal to set-up a dedicated graphic novel section at PRMS.

“Contrary to common belief, many of these graphic novels contain accelerated content, so they can be read for grades,” says Kristen Rowe, PRMS librarian. “For kids who may be intimidated by long-form books, these are great choices to get them interested in reading. Many students also read them for fun, or to study the illustrations for the artwork.”

To create a section large enough to draw student attention and keep them coming back, PROF funded the purchase of 50 graphic novels. Titles selected include those that are popular, as well as those found on “best of” lists from the American Library Association and the Junior Library Guild. The special collection will be added to each year as part of the annual library budget to keep the selection fresh and current.

The Pine-Richland Opportunities Fund is a non-profit educational foundation committed to enriching and investing in the experiences of the Pine-Richland student community through staff grants, student scholarships and community partnerships. PROF’s fast grants program funds teacher and staff grant requests of $1,000 or less outside of its normal grant funding cycles. To help fund grants such as these, consider donating at www.prof-fund.org/donate.


PROF PARTNERS WITH PR STUDENTS ON HACKATHON EVENT 

When Hack the Ram organizers came to the Pine-Richland Opportunities Fund with a grant request to purchase technology for their 24-hour invention marathon, the decision to say yes was easy and unanimous. The PROF grant covers the cost of two Sphero Bolt Starter Kits (each including 15 Sphero Bolt programmable robots) and five Arduino Starter Classroom Packs (each containing six Arduino Uno Rev starter boards), which will be used by participants in the second annual hackathon.

This Pine-Richland student-driven event, slated for January 31 and February 1, is free and open to all Pittsburgh-area students from grades 7 to 12. In a nutshell, participants with any level of computer programming or hardware experience collaborate in teams of four to create a technology project from scratch aided by mentor volunteers and a series of seminars scheduled throughout the event.

The technology also will be used throughout the school year and beyond by PR’s Programming Club during educational events for elementary, upper elementary and middle school students, and by teachers in various classroom projects.

“This grant really illustrates what PROF is all about – funding projects that encourage and fuel the intellectual curiosity of our students,” says Deborah Lund, PROF’s executive director. “We are thrilled to be directly investing in the educational enrichment not only of Hack the Ram participants, but the student leaders organizing and running it, as well as our Pine-Richland students at all levels who will benefit from the technology in years to come.”

The Pine-Richland Opportunities Fund is a non-profit educational foundation committed to enriching and investing in the experiences of the Pine-Richland student community through staff grants, student scholarships and community partnerships. PROF’s fast grants program funds teacher and staff grant requests of $1,000 or less outside of its normal grant funding cycles. To help fund grants such as these, consider donating at www.prof-fund.org/donate.


IMPACTFUL GRANTS FROM PROF FUEL TEACHER PASSION PROJECTS

It was a grants cycle with wide-ranging student impact for the Pine-Richland Opportunities Fund this fall. The non-profit education foundation, which directly benefits students in the Pine-Richland school district, funded teacher and staff grant projects totaling nearly $47,000 so far this year.

“We were surprised and delighted by the number and quality of grant submissions we received,” said Deborah Lund, PROF’s executive director. “It was clear that the teachers and staff who submitted applications are extremely passionate about their projects, and PROF’s board was pleased to feed that passion.”

PROF fully or partially funded the following projects:

  • Collaboration Room (partially funded)– A specially designed space within the Pine-Richland Middle School to include interactive technology and flexible seating to more fully stimulate real-world collaboration, problem-solving and communication.
  • Hackathon (fully funded)– Purchasing Sphero bolt programmable robots and Arduino open-source electronics platform classroom starter kits for use in the annual “hackathon” event at Pine-Richland High School attended by elementary, middle and high school students.
  • Hance Habitat (fully funded)– Revival of the Hance Habitat outdoor learning space and educational area at Hance Elementary School to include updated seating and a gazebo to provide much-needed protection from the elements.
  • Multi-Sensory Environment (partially funded) – Creating a state-of-the-art multi-sensory room for use primarily by the life skills and autism support students and those that work with them at Pine-Richland High School as an upgrade to an existing space.

The decision on which grants were fully funded versus partially funded was not a reflection of their worthiness, according to Lund. With a limited amount of grant dollars to allocate for the year, the decision was made to fully fund those grants that required the entire amount to be activated. The remaining projects can be implemented in stages, with PROF’s goal to provide additional money in future grant award cycles.

In addition to these larger projects, PROF activated its new “fast grants” program for requests under $1,000. The foundation was able to fund nine such mini-grants this year as part of the $47,000 total.

Parents, local businesses and community members are urged to help PROF’s initiative to fund innovative grant projects such as these.  Please donate here: www.prof-fund.org/donate.


PROF and Community Partners Award $46,500 in Scholarships in 2019

In 2019, PROF, in partnership with our generous community members and sponsors, awarded 20 scholarships totaling approximately $46,500 to Pine-Richland High School seniors. The various winners were recognized in a multitude of areas, including: service and volunteering; leadership; interest in STEM, veterinary science, and fields that help others; resiliency; performing arts; musical talents and kindness; financial need, and more.

For descriptions of our scholarships and for a complete list of scholarship winners, please see our scholarship web page. 


PROF launches FAST GRANTS Program

PROF’s Outstanding Ideas Grants Program helps fund innovative projects dreamed up by Pine-Richland teachers and staff to enrich the educational experiences of their students either inside or outside of the classroom. The FAST APPLICATION serves to streamline the grant request and approval processes for applicants. If a grant request is $1,000 or less, PROF will consider a FAST application to evaluate and respond quickly. See the FAST GRANT page to learn how to apply.                       


Share Your Pine-Richland Pride Story - #PROF_FUND


ProudToBePR.jpgPROF’s mission is to enrich and invest in the educational experiences of the Pine-Richland Community. We provide financial grants to innovative staff members. We award scholarships to deserving students. We build partnerships to create great experiences for our students and community. It starts with being ProudtobePR. Share your story and join us in our mission.

Follow us and post your Pine-Richland pride photo, video or story:

Twitter & Instagram: @PROF_FUND

YouTube:  Pine-Richland Opportunities Fund 

 


PROF is a member of the Steering Committee for the Association of Pennsylvania Education Foundations (APEF) and an affiliate member of the National School Foundation Association (NSFA). 

APEF_LOGO_STACK.jpg  NSFA.png


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