Culver City Education Fund receives $250,000

Amazon makes donation to fund outdoor learning and play space project

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The Culver City Education Foundation (CCEF) announces a $250,000 contribution from Amazon to support the much-needed renovation of an outdoor space for the primary campus of the Office of Child Development within the Culver City Unified School District (CCUSD). CCEF is the lead fundraising partner for CCUSD and raises funds for programs throughout the entire Culver City district, engaging over 7,000 students each year. Culver City is now home to Amazon Studios. 

“What better way to begin to express our gratitude to the Culver City community than to provide an innovative and environmentally-friendly learning and play space outside for our youngest neighbors,” said Albert Cheng, Vice President, Co-Head TV and Chief Operations Officer of Amazon Studios. 

“If the pandemic has taught us anything, it is the importance for children to have access to safe, outdoor spaces. The renovation project will take over a year to complete and we hope at that time, will be a much-welcomed space for children to safely enjoy the outdoors through creative learning, play and interaction.” 

Now more than ever, educators and psychologists are emphasizing the importance of the outdoors and interaction with each other in the development of children. The benefits of learning and play outdoors impact the physical, social, and emotional capacities and well-being, as well as influencing imaginative and cognitive development. 

“This is a visionary gift, especially right now. The support of future in-person learning and creative play for the youngest members of our school community, is reassuring of a brighter future for us all and particularly for our future preschoolers,” said Leslie Lockhart, Superintendent for CCUSD. 

The renovated outdoor space was included in CCUSD’s master plan. The Office of Child Development will use the new space to focus on all areas of development for children 3-5 years of age.

The mission of CCUSD, a diverse haven of excellence, is to ensure each student possesses the academic and personal skills necessary to achieve their highest potential as a valued, responsible member of society by providing challenging, personalized educational experiences in a safe, nurturing environment and by fostering a passion for teaching and learning with committed parent and community involvement. 

The district has received many accolades including earlier this year being named the most diverse district in all of Los Angeles and the 13th best district in LA County by niche.com. In recent years, a number of schools within the district have been honored for their outstanding education programs and practices nationally and state-wide, including Blue Ribbon, Gold Ribbon and Democracy designations.

“We truly value our relationship with Amazon and their support of our district-wide efforts began over a year ago. They understand the significant role of an exceptional school system and its positive impact on the broader community,” said Renae Williams Niles, Executive Director, CCEF. 

“They also recognize there’s so much more needed to ensure academic success and well-being for all of our students. We look forward to a continued partnership with Amazon that will make our school district even more highly regarded.” 

ABOUT CULVER CITY EDUCATION FOUNDATION

For nearly 40 years, the Culver City Education Foundation (CCEF) has successfully impacted the academic achievement and overall well-being of K-12 students across the entirety of the Culver City Unified School District (CCUSD). 

CCEF strategically supports district-wide efforts and funds programs engaging close to 7,000 students each year. CCEF strives to fundraise and lead by fostering cooperation and collaboration among all district organizations. Through such efforts, CCEF has garnered the dedicated support of current and former Culver City residents, parents and parent leaders at each school, local businesses and major corporations, foundations, civic leaders and the leadership of CCUSD. 

Collectively we raise awareness and financial support for highly valued educational programs and teaching innovations that would not be possible through government funding alone. Since its inception, CCEF has raised millions of dollars to support Culver City students, teachers, schools and families, and to provide valuable programs and resources. 

Some transformative contributors include Sony Pictures Entertainment, the Fineshriber Family Foundation, Mary and Mark Stevens, and the Darlene Bilkiss bequest. 

CCEF funded programs are as diverse as the student community it serves, ranging from needs such as visual and performing arts, college readiness, science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, and student wellness. To learn more, visit www.ccef4schools.org.

ABOUT THE OFFICE OF CHILD DEVELOPMENT

The Office of Child Development within the Culver City Unified School District offers the highest level of safe and educational learning environments for children from preschool to fifth grade within the Culver City community.

Unlike other learning centers, the Office of Child Development is staffed by credentialed educators who use a multitude of instructional strategies to respond to students’ diverse needs. These educators also know that having fun can be one of the best educational tools, so they strive to create learning opportunities that are both enjoyable and informative. 

We include activities, which will enable children to build basic skills in language arts, science, social studies, and mathematics. Furthermore, children can be found singing, dancing, producing art, cooking, puzzle preparing, story reading, puppet manipulating, and game playing in addition to taking part in vigorous physical activity, such as running, jumping, climbing, digging, and building. 

These developmental skills are equally stressed as important building blocks to the total development of each child. Our ultimate goal is to empower and motivate children through the application of age appropriate, experiential learning while respecting and celebrating each child’s cultural diversity and personal individuality.