Red Fund provides aid to students in financial crisis

Emily Cerf

On March 30, the PTSA created a “Red Fund,” to fundraise money for an 18-year-old student who was left without family, inheritance, or income after a recent tragedy. Within the first 48 hours of its existence, the fund raised over $20,000.

The fund, which allows members of the Redwood community to donate online, was created after Redwood school administrators and Wellness Center professionals notified the PTSA of the at-risk student.

Without support from the community, the student would have gone to live in a homeless shelter outside of the Tam District.

Through a account created by the PTSA, 245 members of the Redwood have raised $24,960 of donations as of press time.

The 'Red Fund' created by the PTSA raised $24,960 as of press time.
The ‘Red Fund’ created by the PTSA raised $24,960 as of press time.

The original goal of the fund was to raise $10,000 for the student.

“We became aware of the situation and wanted to help… and had the idea that just as if we had a family that was in crisis because of say, a house burning down, our PTSA would try to help,” Principal David Sondheim said.

According to the gofundme page, this money will go to “providers of services” instead of to the student directly, and will be used to provide the student with rent in a transitional living home as well as gift cards for groceries and “other reasonable living expenses.”

It has not yet been established from which specific businesses the gift cards will be purchased.

The Red Fund was created in order to make sure that the student’s basic needs (such as food, shelter, and clothing), were met so that the student could achieve “higher learning,” according to Redwood’s Wellness Center coordinator Jen Kenny-Baum.

Receivers of donations from the Red Fund will be determined on a case-by-case basis in the future, according to Sondheim.

This Red Fund, however, has generated so much revenue that a reserve has been created for future students who encounter situations of dire financial instability, according to Sondheim.

If another crisis occurs, the PTSA will ask for the support of the community again to replenish the fund.

“This was really a response to an immediate need. We never had thought that this would blossom into something this impactful,” Sondheim said. “It’s wonderful to know that we’ve been able to help one student and we may be able to help the next one if something serious happens.”

The contributions to the fund represented a coming together of the Redwood community behind this single student, Kenny-Baum said.

“I really find it heartwarming and inspiring that so many people were touched to care for another person that they don’t even know,” she said. “A lot of times people are more willing to care for someone they’ve met, but it is totally different that people are going out of their way to make sure that people in their community are OK.”

Sonheim also felt that the creation of the Red Fund represented a coming together of the the Redwood community.

“We are very lucky that our school’s community is supportive in so many ways: academic, athletic, artistic, and in this case, emotional support,” Sondheim said, praising the positive enviroment that exists at Redwood.

The identity of the student in crisis has been protected for their privacy.