Chumash Foundation Donates $60K to Five County Schools with Technology Needs


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SANTA YNEZ, CA – October 26, 2022 – To help bridge the gap for Santa Barbara County schools that are struggling to meet the classroom technology needs of their students, the Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians Foundation has donated over $60,000 to five area schools that applied for grants through its Technology in Schools Program for the 2022-23 school year.

The program allows Santa Barbara County school administrators and faculty to apply for technology grant dollars to fund specific projects. These grants let schools purchase hardware, upgrade infrastructure, add high-tech resources and boost their curriculum.

This year’s recipients are Delta High School in Santa Maria, College School District in Santa Ynez, Cuyama Elementary School, Santa Ynez Valley Union High School and Ballard Elementary School in the Santa Ynez Valley.

Credit: Courtesy

“It’s with great pride that we can offer grants through our Technology in Schools Program, equipping students and classrooms with the devices, infrastructure and software needed to set students up for success,” said Kenneth Kahn, Tribal Chairman for the Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians.

Delta High School, a continuation high school in Santa Maria that serves about 400 students, was awarded $9,122 and will use this funding to purchase robotics equipment and software for its robotics program.

“We were thrilled when we received word about the support for our robotics team!” said Jeff Cooper, robotics coach for Delta High School. “This money changes our program from one where we support the interest in robotics among our continuation high school students to a program where our students become teachers, coaches and ambassadors in the effort to expand robotics education throughout the entire Santa Maria Valley! This is exciting because it is no longer just about building and competing with a few robots at Cal Poly, it’s about creating opportunities to support the increase in tomorrow’s engineers among communities that often do not get the chance to develop such skills.”

College School District was awarded $7,343, which will go toward purchasing a library software system and safety radio equipment that will help keep both campuses connected.

“The College School District PTO (Parent-teacher organization) is honored to be a recipient of this year’s Technology in Schools grant through the Chumash Foundation,” said Calisse Courtney, PTO Secretary for College School District. “We are elated that the foundation values literacy and has chosen to support the purchase of a new library inventorying system that has allowed the Santa Ynez Elementary school to reopen its library to all our students. For many of our students, the school library is their only opportunity to explore the world of literature. The stewardship of the foundation makes it possible for us to provide a solid base for our kids to springboard into their high school careers and beyond.”

Cuyama Elementary School was awarded $15,000 and will use this funding to purchase 24 computers, bolstering the computer lab, which is the primary location for school testing on campus.

“I want to express my sincere gratitude for the grant awarded to Cuyama Joint Unified School District,” said Alfonso Gamino, superintendent of Cuyama Joint Unified School District. “This grant will allow the district to upgrade the district computer technology lab which is really needed. The Chumash Foundation grant is making our computer lab upgrade a reality. Thank you for the support.”

Santa Ynez Valley Union High School was awarded $15,000 and will use this funding to modernize its computer lab, replacing outdated equipment.

“We are very grateful to be part of the Technology in Schools Program and to partner with the Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians,” said Michael Niehoff, principal of Santa Ynez Valley Union High School. “In order to continually advance higher-level learning, as well as relevant career development skills, technology integration is essential. We need to keep pushing our students, as well as ourselves, to become lifelong learners. Technology plays a vital role in that effort.”

Ballard Elementary School was awarded $15,000 and will use this funding to upgrade its cable infrastructure to improve internet access for students. This critical funding will support phase II of its multi-phase approach, with additional funding being sought through other sources.

“We are thrilled to be a recipient of the Technology in Schools program,” said Pam Rennick, superintendent of Ballard School District. “The funds will be used directly to improve the connectivity of the internet at Ballard so that our students have more consistent access to technology. The funds came at a perfect time!”

Credit: Courtesy

Past grant recipients include Los Olivos’ Dunn School, which received $15,000 to refresh its network infrastructure on its upper campus, Santa Ynez Valley Charter School, which received $9,000 to help cover the cost of 25 iPads and iPad covers to be used by its kindergarten through fourth-grade classes, and Santa Maria’s St. Louis de Montfort School, which was granted $15,000 to buy 49 Chromebooks for its Tech for Tikes program, serving transitional kindergarten and kindergarten classes and its fifth-graders. 

In 2015, the Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians donated the proceeds from its annual charity golf tournament to four local schools in the form of technology grants. Inspired by the success of those grants, the tribe’s leadership created the Technology in Schools Program through its foundation to help fulfill the high-tech needs of classrooms in Santa Barbara County. Since its inception, the program has issued more than $360,000 in grants to area schools.

For more information and to access applications, please visit www.santaynezchumash.org/foundation or call 805-688-7997. The deadline to apply for the 2023-2024 school year is April 30, 2023, and all applications must be submitted online at www.santaynezchumash.org/foundation.

The Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians has donated more than $25 million to hundreds of groups, organizations and schools in the community and across the nation as part of the tribe’s long-standing tradition of giving.



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