Sonoma County Office of Education

With Generous Donations, SCOE Launches Technology Support Fund

08/31/2020 -

Bank of Marin seeds fund to help schools and families with distance learning technology needs

Thanks to a generous donation from Bank of Marin, the Sonoma County Office of Education (SCOE) is launching a Technology Support Fund intended to help school districts and families purchase the mobile hotspots, prepaid data plans, computers, and subscriptions to online learning plans needed to access and deliver distance learning this year.

The Technology Support Fund is seeded through a $50,000 donation from Bank of Marin and received an additional $11,400 donation from the Santa Rosa Express Youth Running Club. The hope is that other individuals, businesses, and community organizations will also be inspired to donate to this fund so that more students can be served by it.

“The need for schools and charters to pivot to distance learning in response to the COVID-19 crisis has underscored the inequities that exist between students who have easy access to the internet and computing devices and those who do not,” said Dan Blake, Director of Innovation and Partnerships at SCOE. “Digging below the surface reveals a troubling reality: low-socioeconomic status students and English Learners are hit hardest by this issue. We are incredibly thankful to these community partners for coming forward during this difficult time to offer resources to help address this equity gap and give Sonoma County students the tools they need to succeed.”

“The COVID-19 pandemic has brought to the forefront inequities in our education system that have existed for far too long,” said Russell A. Colombo, Bank of Marin president and CEO. “It is incumbent on us as a community to come together and ensure equitable access to remote learning so that all students can receive the education they deserve.”

The COVID-19 Technology Support Fund will prioritize those districts and charters with the greatest needs based upon their student population and the impacts of the financial crisis on their operating budget. Using the seed funding, SCOE will set up a fund so local school districts and charters can make requests through a mini-grant process. Grants of up to $5,000 will be available to offset the costs of technology-related expenses tied to the demands and challenges of distance learning.

“During these times of extreme economic and personal hardship for so many, it is inspiring to see these community businesses and organizations step forward to support our most vulnerable students,” said Steve Herrington, Sonoma County Superintendent of Schools. “On behalf of the schools of Sonoma County, I am grateful for their generosity, which I hope will inspire other organizations to do the same.”

He invited local businesses, foundations, and individuals wishing to support schools to join in and donate at

About the Donors

Bank of Marin

Founded in 1990 the Bank has grown from branches in San Rafael and Corte Madera to $3.2 billion in assets with 22 branches, 5 commercial banking offices, and 1 loan production office located across eight Bay Area counties. Since 2010 the Bank has given back to the community by giving $4.55 million in financial contributions to local nonprofits. Bank employees also volunteer thousands of hours a year and are actively involved as board members on more than 60 nonprofit organizations. Bank of Marin helped the business community navigate the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic by facilitating $300MM in the Small Business Administration’s Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). The Bank has committed to donating a portion of the fee income earned from those PPP loans to support another severely impacted group - the most vulnerable students in the Bay Area counties that they serve. These contributions are a first step toward bridging the access gaps that have widened during this crisis.

Santa Rosa Express Youth Running Club

An additional $11,400 was donated by the Santa Rosa Express Youth Running Club, a nonprofit that recently dissolved. The club’s board of directors voted to donate their funds, which were registration fees from children all over Sonoma County who ran with the club, to the public school system.

“We felt that SCOE would best support the spirit these funds were raised—to enrich the lives of children in Sonoma County,” said Board Member Kaisa Gonsalves.

Learn more or donate

For questions about the Technology Support Fund, or to donate, please contact Dan Blake at 707-524-2780 or

More information and a link to donate is also available at