Nicki and Jeremy Graves run the Graves Education Foundation. | Photo courtesy of the foundation.
Nicki and Jeremy Graves both grew up in Texas. Nicki grew up in Lake Highlands and Jeremy grew up in the Arlington Heights area of Fort Worth. They heard stories from friends, who are educators in low income school districts, about students lacking coats or teachers funding supplies. So, they decided to host a coat drive in 2016.
“To hear the stories of these kiddos opening their new jackets, they’ve never owned a coat of their own and they were surprised when they were able to write their own name in the coats,” Nicki says. “It really tugged on our heart strings and made us want to grow it more and more.”
Four years later, they run the Graves Education Foundation. They’ve raised over $5,000 in donations to provide schools supplies, coats, undergarments and academic scholarships. In total, they have provided supplies to 1,267 children in DFW.
“We decided to incorporate a school drive to try to give students the resources they needed so teachers wouldn’t have to supply as much as they had previously,” she says. “We started the Graves Education Foundation, so our mission is to make sure that kids have the supplies that they need to be successful in the classroom as well as outside of the classroom.”
This year, they are stuffing backpacks with schools supplies, masks, and hand sanitizer. The Graves heard students will no longer be able to use water fountains, so they are also providing personal water bottles in each backpack.
“Once the kiddos are ready to be back in the classroom, we just want to make sure they have the supplies that they need,” Nicki says.
They will continue to host a coat drive for the fall, including undergarments and other clothings items for kids. Nicki and Jeremy have a 4-year-old and 1-year-old daughter, so this foundation hits close to home.
The backpack kits for the new semester. | Photo courtesy of the Graves Education Foundation.
“Once you’re a parent, it becomes even more relevant,” she says. “I just can’t imagine if our kiddos didn’t have coats in the winter or all the necessary supplies they needed to be successful in the classroom.”
The Graves Foundation has hopes to expand to the Lake Highlands area.
“Our kids are going to plug into Stults Elementary and we want to make sure that the students who go to that school, and all of Lake Highlands, will have the resources that they need,” Nicki says. “It’s already been really nice to meet the administrators in the area.”
Due to COVID-19, the timeliness of the organization is more important than ever.
“People are struggling in ways that they weren’t six months ago,” Nicki says. “I’m hoping we can be an outlet for people to help the community.”
100% of all donations go toward schools and children. Check out their website or Facebook to share the word and help donate.
Sneak peak of the 2020 backpacks 🎒🙌🏼 As we send kiddos back to school in 2020, GEF wants to make sure that students not...Posted by Graves Education Foundation on Thursday, August 6, 2020