The Foundation for Portland Public Schools (FPPS) is pleased to announce it has received a donation from Martin’s Point Health Care to the Foundation’s Addressing the Opportunity Gap campaign. Martin’s Point Health Care joins the John T. Gorman Foundation, Crystal Reporting Solutions, and dozens of individuals in the greater Portland area in supporting this work. The campaign has now raised over half of the funds needed to meet the initial goal
Martin’s Point Health Care’s Vice President of Marketing and Community Engagement, Steve Amendo, stated, ’“We are committing to expanding our focus to establish sustained, supportive relationships with community organizations and efforts whose work specifically promotes racial equity and justice. We see these as necessary elements of a truly healthy society and are excited about consciously adding this to the work we already do as people caring for people.”
The Addressing the Opportunity Gap campaign’s goal is to raise money for systemic equity work in the Portland Public Schools (PPS). The PPS strategic plan, the Portland Promise, calls for rooting out systemic and ongoing inequities in the city’s schools. The district has been focused on equity work for many years, but is calling on community members and local businesses to deepen and accelerate these efforts in a challenging budget year.
The specific objectives that the schools are seeking to fund include additional supports for English language learners that were initially intended to be in the local budget but were ultimately cut due to fiscal constraints; work to decolonize the curriculum, including developing Wabanaki and Africana studies materials for all three high schools; professional development for staff; and the creation of a pilot program to mentor a small group of multilingual, Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC) social work interns who better represent the racial and language diversity in Portland. PPS is the largest and most diverse school district in Maine, with 47 percent BIPOC students and over 60 languages spoken at home.
Although a public campaign to create this type of change in schools is unusual, the district budget has many unmet needs, and it’s challenging to reallocate funds for systemic change work. FPPS Executive Director Andrea Summers shared, “The Foundation for Portland Public Schools was created to leverage community support for our schools. This donation from Martin’s Point Health Care, as well as all of the other community support of this campaign, will enable the schools to accelerate and deepen their equity work and ultimately demonstrate how critical these efforts are for our schools.”