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Featured Foundation: Palo Alto Community Fund

​Palo Alto Community Fund Supports Science & Environmental Education Learning at Via West Campus

Across California, typically-developing elementary and middle school students attend outdoor Science & Environmental Education Camps which provide them with hands-on, real-life learning that instills a love of nature and a sense of stewardship toward the environment. However, only a small number of youngsters with autism spectrum disorder, Down syndrome, cerebral palsy and other special needs attend these programs.

At Via West Campus in Cupertino, initial funding from the Leo M. Shortino Family Foundation and ongoing financial support from local corporations, funds and foundations has allowed us to create and host regular Special Needs Science & Environmental Education Programs in collaboration with local schools. The Palo Alto Community Fund (PACF) provided a generous grant in 2016 that underwrote scholarships for 85 low-income special needs students from Palo Alto, East Palo Alto and Menlo Park to attend one of these camps. Those students fell in love with VWC’s meadows, forests, and creeks and want to return throughout the year to continue their educational experiences.

The Palo Alto Community Fund came through once again with a 2017 matching grant that will provide scholarships for 30 low-income youngsters from those communities to attend a respite weekend during the school year or a longer summer session to continue learning about science and the environment. We appreciate their generosity and look forward to another year of successful collaboration with this organization!