Basic Needs

Removing Barriers So Every Child Arrives At School Every Day Ready To Learn

The Foundation began with one generous donation and one solitary vision: to provide for the unmet basic needs of students attending Vancouver Public Schools. We see “basic” as what students need to come to school healthy, happy and ready to learn. A bed. Glasses. Dental care and hygiene items. School supplies. Shoes and clothing, to name a few.

Over the years, our work in basic needs has grown to include a Basic Needs Checkbook/One Card at each of our 37 schools and support for the district’s eighteen Family-Community Resource Centers located in our highest needs areas and two mobile units.

Common BASIC NEEDS are:

  • Food
  • Clothing & shoes
  • Housing resources
  • Medical, dental, vision screening
  • Glasses, hearing aides
  • School supplies
  • Athletic & activity fees
  • Gas card or transportation fees

Checkbook/One Card Program

The Foundation provides a “checkbook”, via a purchase card, for every principal and/or Family Resource Coordinator at each of our 37 schools to quickly and confidentially help students in need. This program allow principals to focus on individual student needs ranging from personal hygiene items to class fees, bus passes, emergency medication, senior year expenses and more.


The Foundation wants all children to feel comfortably dressed at school regardless of whether their families can afford adequate clothing or they’ve had an accident. Research shows a link between a student’s appearance and teachers’ expectations, as well as a correlation between how students dress and their behavior.

That’s why we stock health rooms with new undergarments, personal items, and gently used clothing for our students. In addition, the Foundation provides Goodwill vouchers to all schools for students in need.

Athletic and Activity Fee Scholarships

The Foundation understands that after school activities are often the “anchors” that keep students in school. Yet the average cost of $80 for a high school student to participate in a school sport or activity ($30 for a middle school student, plus required insurance), is beyond the means of many families facing financial hardship.

Last year, our generous donors helped “anchor” more than 375 students by offering scholarships for middle and high school students to offset the cost of athletic and activity fees.

Family-Community Resource Centers

Family-Community Resource Centers (FCRC) support connections between families and school communities. FCRCs are a place where students and families can access a range of information and support including assistance with basic needs, connections to social services, and access to opportunities that alleviate stress, enrich learning, and promote family stability. FCRCs are helping children get to school healthy, happy, and ready to learn.

October 25, 2015, The ColumbianVancouver schools takes lead in helping needy pupils

Thanks to the generosity of our donors, the Foundation supports all 18 of the district’s onsite Family-Community Resource Centers and a mobile FCRC.

Click HERE to view contact information for each FCRC.

For general inquiries, contact 360-313-4719, or