Dear Northampton Community,
In the wake of George Floyd’s horrific murder at the hands of Minneapolis police officers and the ensuing upheaval, we at the Northampton Education Foundation want to reach out to you, our beloved community, and make it abundantly clear that our support for racial justice and equality—and our condemnation of those who oppose them—has not and will not ever waver.
George Floyd is only the most current and visible victim of the racism that stalks our country on a daily basis. Under the pressure of such knowledge, it’s difficult not to feel despair and helplessness. But education is one of the most effective ways to make a sustained and lasting difference in attitudes toward race in our community and in our nation. The content and quality of that education matters, as does the effort to make it accessible to students regardless of race or socioeconomic status. Our mission is to fund projects and programs that expand educational opportunities, foster creativity, and enhance academic experiences in Northampton’s public schools. This is why we have funded—and will continue to fund—teacher-led initiatives that help build a society that values all members. These have included projects promoting racial literacy at the elementary school level; outreach programs at Section 8 housing that include Lego robotics, math, art, and literacy; a program placing books addressing race and diversity in the district’s elementary school libraries; and curriculum for elementary and high school students designed around the history of Sojourner Truth and the Underground Railroad in Northampton.
To our community,
In these extraordinary times of school closings and the shuttering of many community centers and businesses, our daily life has been upended. Families are confronted with the need to facilitate their children’s education and care for family members (including those most at risk from the Covid-19 virus) all while working from home. Some community members are enduring the extreme stress of no work at all.
Despite the ever-changing nature of life right now, The Northampton Education Foundation remains steadfast in its support of the needs of the Northampton Public Schools.
The NPS district has stepped up to ensure the security of staff pay and benefits as well as to meet the needs of our more vulnerable community members with daily food distributions. As the school district works to provide resources to families and explore options for distance learning, NEF is proactively reaching out to teachers and administrators to determine how we may support them in this crisis.
Our regular 2020 fundraisers have been canceled or postponed. We remain deeply grateful for the generosity of the community in our past fundraisers; it is that generosity that enables us to meet some of the immediate needs of our learning community today as well as plan for a time when students and staff can come together again.
All our best,
The NEF Board of Directors
Try Being Nice
Illustrated Reflections & Protest Signs from 2018
Mo Willems and his studio assistant
Occasionally during the roller coaster that was 2018, Mo Willems pulled out his pen and markers as a way to absorb, reflect, and share his thoughts on the events of the day. Try Being Nice collects many of these drawings along with a few signs created for various protests Mo attended throughout the year.(
All of Mo’s proceeds for this show will be donated to The Northampton Education Foundation to help supplement programs and activities for the community’s public-school students.
Please join R. Michelson galleries for the Opening Reception of Try Being Nice on Friday, March 8th from 6-8 pm (in conjunction with Northampton’s Arts Night Out).
Mo Willems will not be signing books at this event.
- You can choose to donate all or part of your $10 credit from a full stamp Broadside card to NEF.
- You can purchase one of the store’s donation books, and the proceeds will go to NEF.
- You can donate cash through a donation jar on the store counter.