Back-to-School Supplies Drive Raises $56,000 for Local Teachers

Source: Village Properties

A supplies drive organized by the local non-profit Teacher’s Fund has raised $56,000 to help Santa Barbara-area teachers purchase tools and materials for their classrooms.

The annual Back-to-School Drive was held online this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Community members and businesses were invited to donate to the fundraiser between September 16 and October 16. Donors could also sponsor an individual teacher’s request for supplies.

All proceeds raised from the event are sent directly to local kindergarten through 12th grade teachers to help them buy educational materials that enhance their students’ learning. This year, many teachers asked for assistance purchasing educational computer software and tools to facilitate the unprecedented shift to online learning during the pandemic.

“This much-needed money will be put to good use supporting our Santa Barbara teachers and students,” said Renee Grubb, owner of Village Properties Realtors and founder of the Teacher’s Fund. “We are so impressed and grateful for the generosity of our community. Despite being restricted to fundraising virtually, we easily surpassed our initial goal of raising $50,000.” 

Grubb singled out Village Properties Realtor Brianna Johnson as the main organizer of the event. Johnson had the idea for the very first Teachers Fund supplies drive, and has been key to the fundraiser’s success ever since. She and Grubb co-chair the organizing committee. Other committee members are Leanne Wood, Dianne Johnson, Amy Abbott, Sheela Hunt, Angel Speier, Candace Cavaletto, Dana Patterson, Ivonne Arroyo, and Rachael Bissig.

“Johnson’s creativity and dedication is what makes this event possible every year,” said Grubb. “Thanks to her leadership, a strong committee, and all of their efforts, we’ve made a real difference in the lives of hundreds of teachers and students.”

Sponsors and individual donors to the drive received entry into a prize drawing for each $50 donated toward supplies. Top prizes included a Staycation Package consisting of a three-night stay at the Chapala Cottages (donated by Rachael Bissig) and two 1-pound bags of roasted coffee beans from CAJE Coffee Roasters; A Virtual Learning Package offering a Microsoft Surface Pro 7 12.3″ Touchscreen (donated by Kristin Hall) and Kid’s Basket filled with brain games, arts and crafts activities, puzzles, and more (donated by Angel Speier); and several Wine Packages containing 15 bottles of wine donated by Bradley Family Wines, Babcock Winery, and Village Properties agents.

The Teacher’s Fund was created in 2002 by the owners of Village Properties as a way for teachers to request much needed supplies for their classrooms. Since then, the Teacher’s Fund has donated over $1.7 million to our local schools. 100 percent of the funds raised go directly to local teachers for their classrooms. 

• For more information about Teacher’s Fund visit

• For information about Village Properties visit

What do you think?


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  1. IRS needs to audit the 1040 “educator deduction” to ensure these claimed deductions actually get used exclusively in the classrooms. What is the combined amount for “educator deductions” and what classrooms items are most frequently claimed? Computers, art supplies, bathroom tissue, pencils??

  2. If I started working as a day-to-day teacher in the SBUSD in 1990, and I retire from teaching this year (30 years later), what do I get in terms of retirement pay/medical/dental/vision/etc.? Anyone “out there” know for “sure” (as in not guessing)? My sister says they get “nearly nothing”, but another family member said that after 30 years they get around 90% of their last year’s pay, plus medical/dental for their entire family for the rest of their lives. Anyone know what the truth is? (maybe retirement benefits vary by school district, and are not state wide.)

  3. It’s wonderful to see at least some people out there are offering support for our teachers and students at a time when they are under attack from people who care neither for their safety, nor that of the children, nor that of the community.

  4. I believe, reading the article, that the items in the picture were raffle prizes that were donated to support the cause, not things donated to the teachers. Babycakes – I don’t know what the answer to your question is, but I’m fairly certain it is not 90% of their salary in retirement. Teachers are way underpaid, choose the career out of love for children (there are always a few who have no business being around children) and often hemorrhage money out of their own pocket to supplement the dreary state curriculum to make it more interesting for their students.

  5. By that logic…
    You don’t care about my safety
    Teachers don’t care about their kids safety (remember kids of teachers/admin in GUSD are in school)
    Teachers don’t care about the safety of the teachers that are RIGHT NOW teaching their kids in person
    It’s kind of silly when you look at it any other way, isn’t it? Coming up on 2 months of private schools being back 5 days per week, Rich kid school districts being open 5 days per week… and pre-schools being open 6 months. So yeah… a fundraiser for teachers classroom supplies when they aren’t open… pretty funny! Let’s not even go into the almost 10 million the GUSD has taken in additional federal school opening funds (the CARE ACT).

  6. District full time teachers are making good money relative to their level of education, trust me. And they should, they have an important job. My point is that they’re essential workers, and they’re not showing up for work.

  7. Way to go Teachers Fund!
    It’s unfortunate the Teachers Union dies not want to return to the classroom.
    Despite the science and data saying it’s ok, despite their beloved Newsom allowing it. Despite the CDC stating months ago that kids are not spreaders and the harm to children’s emotional, psychology and education are worse than the disease.
    Shame on you Teachers Union.
    If a teacher has a medical condition or legitimate concern, get a doctors note. That’s what the rest of have to do.
    There’s a way to return to the classrooms and between the Teachers Union and the lack of leadership from this school board the only reason why more kids haven’t left public school is because they can’t afford to leave.
    It’s a travesty and the children are suffering because of their actions.

  8. I can admit when I’m wrong. I read it in a mindset of quite annoyed that people don’t seem to see that an occasional 2 week shutdown is much preferable to an indefinite seemingly forever shutdown. My bad…Cheers!

  9. Thank you to Village Properties. 100 % of the funds raised go directly to teachers. This is definitely unique in the non profit world. Teachers always can use help for the little things we take for granted. This is a great fund to support.

  10. very nice gesture but is does something about how mismanaged our school funds are. A bit ironic as many teachers don’t want to go back to teaching in the classroom , however, they have no problem shopping at TJ’s or Whole Foods

  11. Babycakes, Treansparent California posts the full costs to taxpayers for all teachers, by name, title and/or school district. They also list CalSTRS pension pay outs for life, by name. Teacher pensions in this state are very generous and funding teacher pension promises are why schools now have to go our for bond issues and parcel taxs to fund building maintenance and construction, since teacher pay, perks and pensions take up the vast majority of the “education” dollar today. This is the power of the state teachers unions who have taken over the agenda to make sure teachers and school personnel get paid in full regardless of extremely poor student outcomes in this state.

  12. Because socially distant shopping with a mask on is the same as close extended interaction with asymptomatic children who pass germs like wildfire? The logic of these arguments are very weak. Apples to watermelons, in this case.

  13. It is well known that teachers aren’t given enough budget to buy the materials they need to teach effectively. “Ninety-four percent of American public school teachers reported paying for school supplies out of their own pocket in the 2014-15 school year, according to a Department of Education survey. Those teachers spent an average of $479.”

  14. Teacher sits at a desk at the front of the classroom, even on an elevated platform. Students sit in rows of desk – 6 feet away with plexiglass partitions separating students. Problem solved. Yesterday. Learning takes place and class room discipline is enforced. Just like it used to take place back when California public schools were the envy of the nation. Before taken over by the teachers unions. post 1960’s.

  15. Yet another instance of insanity at work at schools. Yes, it is a myth. Teachers used to be the poorest group. BUT, their jobs are not secure nor guaranteed either. If you don’t like “policing” ,
    try educational funding for reform. Feast for some, famine for most. Yes, a teacher can retire and get 60% of what was supposed to be a low salary–equity obsession has made this outrageous for State staff in all roles. What will out City Manager get? Six figures rest of life? The point here should not be about salaries but how to keep kids supplied with real tutoring, real learning materials, computers needed, pencils? Maybe even wine tasting? Are we kidding? Because of budgets there is reduced art and music? So much teaching has been delegated to parents and non-profits also raising money for the same thing! Keep it simple: A Teacher should get a stipend like they used to get and curtail rip offs at higher levels. Three to Five administrators to a teacher? Top heavy and over the top!

  16. 9:37 – great ideas! There is absolutely NO EXCUSE now that the kids can’t be in school. Private schools are doing it, Montecito, Cold Springs, and now Hope District, are ALL back in school. Why can’t SBUSD and GUSD go back? Always some new excuse. The worst is it is becoming clearly evident that SB/GUSDs did nothing to plan for this, all the while saying they had been. If they truly had been planning, there’d be no more kicking the can down the road. Get our kids in class! Masks, plexiglass, distancing, staggered (or no) recess, etc etc etc…. lots of ways to do this safely.

  17. So, your answer is just to stay closed forever??? You separate the classes as much as possible, limit staff interaction and buy the face shields and plexi-glass…no it’s not perfect…but it’s better than keeping our kids out of school through the end of 2021…which is at least how long we’re going to be dealing with this thing. Closing for 2 weeks occasionally is fine…that’s the new normal. But we can’t stay completely closed (from a public school perspective)…it’s unsustainable and nutty!

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