The COVID-19 global pandemic has had a disastrous impact on the lives of people all over the world, and the Surge community of education leaders of color is no different.
At Surge, we’ve had the honor of elevating and supporting transformative leaders of color across the education and youth-serving ecovillage: our Surge Fellows and Alumni. These are individuals who work to dismantle oppressive structures and systems and seek to provide better education opportunities and a brighter future for our young people. They tackle giants daily – and win!
In 2020, our community had some major giants to tackle.
The burden of COVID has sat heavily on families. Basic needs that many take for granted—food, shelter, and security—have been rapidly growing concerns, particularly for those without the income to save ahead of the pandemic. In addition to these challenges is the heightened civil unrest resulting from police brutality and racial inequity across the nation.
The challenges have been real, and right now Surge Fellows and Alumni all over the country are feeling the impact on themselves and the communities they serve.
To help relieve some of the pressure on the families they are serving, on April 1 we launched the Surge Relief Fund, created to address some of the most pressing needs of the communities that our Surge Fellows and Alums are serving. We are proud to share that we raised more than $150,000 in donations and pledges, all of which are being used to serve communities in need during this time!
We are truly thankful to all of the individual donors who supported this campaign. Every dollar contributed to this fund was deeply valued and appreciated. We’d like to give special recognition to a group of supporters who gave large sums in the service of communities in need:
Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation
Art & Lindsay Reimers
John P. & Anne Welsh McNulty Foundation (in partnership with Aspen Global Leadership Network)
Paula Sneed & Lawrence Bass Family Charitable Fund
We received lots of interest from across the Surge community, and spread the effort across two application periods. We assembled a selection committee of staff, alums, and current fellows to evaluate each application and make a final decision.
We are happy to announce that awards have been made to 30 different organizations across the nation. Among the awardees was Homies Empowerment, an organization operating a food pantry in East Oakland. Enrich Chicago is contracting with anti-racism trainers and delivering anti-racism education to more than 300 people. The Sankofa Leadership Initiative in Kansas City will provide leadership training to supplement karate training for youth and families. All of the awards were distributed to the organizations thanks of the work and leadership of Surge Fellows and Alums. See the full list awardees below.
Praxis Institute Chicago
Civic Consulting Alliance
Fresh Lifelines for Youth, Inc (FLY)
Cristo Rey Network
Kansas City, 2020
Humanize Us All
Chicago Tech Academy
CICS Global Leaders Initiative
The Knowledge House
Bernadette Pilar Zermeno
CARES FOR LEARNING
Wood Family Foundation
Kansas City, 2020
Kansas City Girls Preparatory Academy
LRF Bird Equity Consulting
Kansas City, 2020
Sankofa Leadership Initiative
Boost! West Oakland
Student Program for Academic & Athletic Transitioning (SPAAT)
In closing, please enjoy a short message of gratitude from a student of the Dream Pursuers Club at the Back of the Yards High School. This was not a bandage on a wound. This was a village helping to raise children, who will go on to build new and better villages, partially fueled by moments like these.
The Surge Institute is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, therefore all monetary donations to the Surge Institute are tax deductible.