Foundation for Dubuque Public Schools Response to the COVID-19 Crisis

Thanks to the support of generous donors, the Foundation for Dubuque Public Schools was able to step up during these unprecedented times, giving hope to students and families in the district through several projects.

With the quick transition from in-person to remote learning, the Dubuque Community School District felt the responsibility to help all students access the internet. The Foundation applied for an emergency grant through the Morgridge Family Foundation and was able to supply the district with funding to offset the cost of mobile hot spots, allowing students the opportunity to continue their learning online.

Our Student Support Foundations (SSF) at Dubuque Senior and Hempstead recognized a need to support families with bags of essential items. The SSF receives funding from The Morgridge Foundation annually and students make grants to projects and programs in their school community. Students worked with the Asbury Hy-Vee and received items at cost to distribute to families, along with notes of hope. Thanks to these efforts, 50 Dubuque Senior and Hempstead families received bags of food, cleaning, and hygiene items to help them through these difficult times.

The STEM kits distributed on Wednesdays in May were big hits, too. Thanks to Ann Arnold and the High School Robotics Team, and funding from Tom Preston Werner, four types of STEM kits were distributed. The Robotics Team even made videos for families on how to assemble the kits.  In total, over 1,400 kits were distributed at Hempstead and Prescott meal sites. Thank you for taking the time to produce quality activities for our students!

With students not being able to attend in-person classes, Andy and Debi Butler and Ed and Susan Butler Ritts provided funding to purchase literacy books and educational activities, along with outdoor activities, that were distributed at two school district meal sites. Families were thrilled to receive these items that brought a much-needed bright spot to their daily routines. The smiles we saw while distributing books, bubbles, and sidewalk chalk were priceless. 

As we look toward students returning to school buildings, we aren’t sure what immediate needs the district might encounter. The Foundation will work closely with the district to meet those needs and continue to enhance the education of the students in the public schools. We will be updating our website and sending out eblasts with funding needs as they arise. If you would like to respond to these needs, donations can be completed on our website – or please feel free to contact Amy Unmacht at 563-588-2700 or