A sign outside a San Diego Gas & Electric building. Courtesy of the company

San Diego Gas & Electric will provide $250,000 in shareholder funds as matching dollars to help teachers supplement classroom education with science, technology, engineering and mathematics projects as schools recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, it was announced Wednesday.

This is the fourth year the utility has partnered with DonorsChoose, an education nonprofit that empowers public school educators to post their projects and raise donations to fund them.

“Our region has faced and overcome several challenges over the course of the pandemic, which have made distance learning difficult for our children,” said Caroline Winn, SDG&E’s CEO. “It’s more important than ever to continue to support teachers as they transition back into the classroom environment.

“SDG&E is proud to help provide these influential teachers with the extra resources they need to develop projects and hands-on activities to inspire children to be the scientists, engineers and innovators of the future,” Winn said.

SDG&E began its partnership with DonorsChoose in 2018. The partnership in the first three years provided a cumulative $664,159 in matching funds to teachers for classroom STEM projects. Since the program began, the STEM collaboration between the utility and DonorsChoose has supported 1,320 teachers and 180,784 students at 723 schools in more than 33 school districts, officials said.

“Our teachers need resources to get creative to engage with students and cultivate their interest in STEM,” said San Diego County Superintendent of Schools Paul Gothold. “The ongoing support from SDG&E enables teachers to take learning to a new level. We especially appreciate SDG&E’s focus on equity, making sure students from schools serving low-income communities have expanded access to resources and supplies.”

In support of equity for schools in disadvantaged communities, the matching donation will provide a two-for-one match for eligible teacher projects at schools in disadvantaged communities as determined by CalEnviroScreen.

Teacher STEM and distance learning projects of $1,000 or less at schools within SDG&E’s service territory in San Diego and Southern Orange Counties are eligible to receive matching funds from the utility on the DonorsChoose platform. Last year, 65% of the 266 schools in 31 school districts receiving funding from SDG&E were in disadvantaged communities.

Eligible teachers can visit www.donorschoose.org/sdge to apply. The match program will run from Wednesday until funds are exhausted.

–City News Service

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