List of Foundation Giving Opportunities

RUSD Foundation Giving Opportunities

When you invest in today's students, you invest in their future.

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Student Well-being

This student-well being program emphasizes the existing models developed to aid psychosocial and physical well being in a child’s environment. There are increasing roles that community agencies, schools and families play in improving childhood health behavior and development. Students who are experiencing difficulties or trauma in their life are more likely to experience behavior and truancy issues. This fund provides students in crisis with support to ensure they have what they need to be in school. When schools engage community partners in meaningful ways, student health, well-being and learning aspirations are achieved.


This program provides a structured pathway for corporate and community organizations to build relationships with schools to support student success. During this collaboration, partners and schools work together to determine how to best connect partner resources and interests with the school’s unique needs. This relationship is a combined effort led by the school and community partner.

Greatest Need

Allows the Foundation to support current student needs for RUSD students. In addition to the programs listed, the “Greatest Need Fund” also provides for future student needs when the unexpected occurs. The Foundation plans for the unforeseen by securing resources before a need arises.

Maria (Pia) Zarate Memorial Fund

Pia Zarate who cared for everyone and made everyone feel cared about. Sadly her family, the community, and RUSD lost her to cancer when she was only 32 years old. Pia was passionate about ensuring that her students had opportunities to participate in engaging science activities to promote a love of learning, especially for science. To honor Pia’s memory her memorial fund was established to support Pia’s passion to provide innovative science education for middle school students.

Experiential Learning

Experiential Learning is the process of learning by doing. “It is a strong instrument for bringing about positive modifications in academic education which allow learners to apply what they have learned in school to real-world problems. (Guo et al.,2016). Students will be provided out of the classroom learning experiences. Opportunities such as participating in college tours, enable students to envision themselves as college students, generates an interest in higher education and encourages them to set college as an attainable goal. Work-based learning activities expose students to a variety of industries and offer opportunities to interact with employees on the work sites. These activities open the students’ minds to new possibilities and inspire them to consider a variety of career paths.


Students are introduced to basic block coding and move on to more complicated coding, including JavaScript and Python programming. In the next 10 years, overall employment of careers that depend on coding, such as software developers, quality assurance analysts, and testers is projected by the Bureau of Labor Statistics to grow 25%. Not only will there be ample job opportunities for students, they will also earn a higher income than average, making a median of $98,220. A study found that there are currently over 500,000 open computing jobs in the US, but only 50,000 computer science graduates each year. Giving students the opportunity to build a strong foundation in computational thinking and coding at an early age can change the trajectory of their educational interests and career choices.

Ignite Her Mind

In our technologically connected, highly digital world, Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) is part of everyday life for our young people in Riverside Unified School District. Therefore, in preparing our students for the new, and even unknown careers of the future, we must help them build more agency and capacity to better understand how products and outcomes from STEM are viewed, created, and applied. Higher education statistics show gender gaps in STEM fields, particularly how women have a lack of representation in STEM careers overall. At RUSD, we endeavor to encourage our young female students to think about themselves as engineers, problem-solvers, and scientists so that they can build up their confidence for pursuing STEM fields in the future.


The Riverside Unified School District African American Parent Advisory Council (DAAPAC) advocates for education equity and inclusion for Black student scholars in Riverside Unified School District and to equip and empower parents in the process. DAAPAC seeks to provide Black students with supplemental educational and extended opportunities that promote learning, growth, and success.

Roger Folsom Athlete Fund

The Roger Folsom Athlete Fund was established to assist RUSD student athletes who have financial needs in order to pursue their athletics. Roger Folsom was a true hometown athlete. He was born and raised in Riverside and attended Grant Elementary, Central Junior High, Riverside Poly High School and Riverside Community College. He compiled a stellar record as a three sport player in football, basketball, and baseball.

Civic Engagement Challenge

Students are challenged to work alone or in teams to create a plan addressing an issue in their local community or school site. Successful completion of the project makes these students eligible for the California State Seal of Civic Engagement, as well as scholarship awards for the top projects.