Press Statements

Ana F. Ponce Statement

As an immigrant mother to a Black boy who will grow up to be a Black man in America, I am heartbroken and outraged at the blatant anti-Black racism entrenched in our society.  We at GPSN know that many of the families we serve experience racial injustices as a result of systemic racism and violence from law enforcement. We know that these tragedies are part of centuries of oppression that has robbed Black people of the chance at equality and justice.

We as a society must all do better, and we need to make our community and country better by standing together against anti-Black racism (or standing with and behind the Black community). It is time for us to reflect and learn how to be effective allies demanding racial justice in our communities and our country. I am listening and growing as an ally and mother committed to a different tomorrow for my son and all Black children in Los Angeles.  

GPSN stands in solidarity with Black communities, and we will continue to focus on educational equity as a foundational right for every Black youth and Black family. We pledge to assess ourselves to improve our own practices, as well as to work with all our partners to create a better public school system and society. 

-Ana F. Ponce

Executive Director, Great Public Schools Now

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ONE FAMILY LA HAS NOW PROVIDED EMERGENCY FUNDING TO 2,600 FAMILIES FACING COVID-19 ECONOMIC HARDSHIPS

May 19, 2020 (Los Angeles, CA)- Since launching in mid-March, One Family LA, a collective fundraising initiative led by Great Public Schools Now (GPSN) in partnership with over 30 nonprofit organizations, has provided emergency financial assistance to approximately  2,600 families facing  economic hardship due to the COVID-19 pandemic. One Family LA plans to support a total of 4,000 families as quickly as possible.

The campaign has raised over $1.7 million from over 600 donors and is fundraising to continue helping people in need. 

“We are grateful for the public’s generosity in recognizing the tremendous need in Los Angeles communities,” said Dr. Ana F. Ponce, GPSN’s executive director. “We also know that the number of families who need help grows with each passing day of this pandemic. We are especially grateful to Reed Hastings and Patricia Ann Quillin, whose ground-breaking donation helped thousands of people, and all to those who continue to donate to One Family LA and make a direct impact in the lives of families who have been hit the hardest.”

When the Covid-19 pandemic began, the organizations behind One Family LA recognized that LA’s most vulnerable families would be disproportionately impacted by the crisis due to work hour reduction or complete job loss. Within its first two weeks of operating, One Family LA worked quickly to raise funds and establish a distribution system to deliver relief to families, making One Family LA one of the first campaigns in the area to get money directly into the hands of those most affected by the pandemic. Families have used One Family LA funding to meet basic needs like food, rent, and medical care at a time when the social safety net has been stretched past its limits. Every dollar donated to One Family LA has gone directly to families in need.  

One Family LA thanks all of its donors, which include hundreds of individuals as well as the Ballmer Group, The Eli And Edythe Broad Foundation, the Snap Foundation, the Walton Family Foundation, Walter Parkes, System 1, the Kayne Foundation, the Len Hill Charitable Trust, the Sam Simon Charitable Trust, Patti and Peter Neuwirth, the Shekels Charitable Foundation, the Wurwand Foundation, Visionary Women, Service Station Foundation, MOCEAN, Thomas Quimby, Craig Murray, Thomas Safran, Devinyl Schonfeld, Brad Brutocao, and the Chernin Group. 

The growing list of individuals and organizations that make up One Family LA can be found here. To donate, please visit www.onefamilyla.com/donate.

For more information contact Jason Song at (213) 452-2804 or jsong@greatpublicschoolsnow.org

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One Family LA Distributes Beats Headphones to Students Impacted by COVID-19 Pandemic

March 30, 2020 (Los Angeles,CA)- One Family LA is providing Beats headphones to students who have been struggling to study without access to schools, public libraries, or other quiet areas as a result of COVID-19 social distancing orders. The headsets will enable students to  better concentrate and access online lessons. 

During their outreach to families, One Family LA partner organizations identified a major challenge disproportionately impacting low-income students trying to learn at home because of school closures. Without a designated quiet place to study or headphones, the students have trouble concentrating because of noise and other distractions. Already living in small living spaces with large families, the cramping is further exacerbated by social distancing orders requiring most, if not all, family members to stay home. In sharing their needs, parents and students told One Family LA partner organizations that headphones could help block out noise and assist with concentration. 

After learning about One Family LA efforts to directly support families impacted by COVID-19 through funding of basic necessities such as school supplies to facilitate learning from home,  Los Angeles-based Beats donated a supply of headphones. The headphones will be directly distributed through One Family LA partner organizations to students this week. 

“We thank Beats for their generosity. These headphones will make a world of difference to students now able to continue their education during this difficult time,” said Dr. Ana F. Ponce, Great Public School Now’s executive director. “We know that families will continue to have many needs during this pandemic and One Family LA will continue to fundraise and disperse support directly to families as quickly as we can.”  

One Family LA was launched on March 16 by a group of over 20 Los Angeles nonprofit organizations to collectively fundraise to directly support families economically impacted by COVID-19. The list of One Family LA partner organizations can be found here.

Families who have benefitted from the headphone donation can be made available upon request.

For more information contact Jason Song at (213) 452-2804 or jsong@greatpublicschoolsnow.org

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GREAT PUBLIC SCHOOLS NOW STATEMENT ON LOS ANGELES CHARTER SCHOOLS

GPSN Executive Director Dr. Ana F. Ponce Statement on UTLA Demand for Charter School Moratorium and End of Proposition 39 Co-locations 

March 27, 2020 (Los Angeles, CA)- Great Public Schools Now encourages all leaders vested in the best interests of LA families and students to  focus our actions on directly assisting our families and students struggling to deal with the various COVID-19 mental, emotional, physical and economic impacts. It’s not the time for political agendas that distract and divide us. 

We can’t ignore the endless need that is increasing each day the COVID-19 pandemic continues. Too many families are worried about their financial stability as they deal with temporary and in some cases, permanent job loss.  Educational inequities continue to disproportionately impact low-income and immigrant families who are struggling to access educational lessons and resources online while simultaneously worrying about paying rent, buying groceries and affording other basic necessities. 

That is why Great Public Schools Now is part of the collective fundraising effort to support One Family LA, which is disbursing funding directly to families in need now. We also recognize and support other similar efforts like the Mayor’s Fund and the LAUSD Fund. Regardless of how people choose to engage, what matters now more than ever is each of us working together and not against each other to help our families in need. 

GPSN understands tensions and fears are high because of the uncertainties brought upon us by COVID-19 but let’s give LA families and students some stability by coming together on their behalf to make an impact where we can. Using an unprecedented crisis for political gain is detrimental to all. 

-Dr. Ana F. Ponce,

Executive Director, Great Public Schools Now

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Families Facing COVID-19 Economic Hardships To Begin Receiving Funds for Basic Necessities

One Family LA has raised nearly $150,000 from almost 300 Angelenos 

March 25, 2020 (Los Angeles, CA)- Since launching nearly a week ago on March 16, One Family LA, a collective fundraising initiative led by Great Public Schools Now (GPSN) in partnership with over 20 nonprofit organizations, has raised nearly $150,000 to support families experiencing economic hardship due to the COVID-19 pandemic. One Family LA is now positioned to be one of the first Los Angeles funds to deploy funds directly to families. 

When the Covid-19 pandemic began, the organizations behind One Family LA recognized that LA’s most vulnerable families would be the hardest hit by the crisis due to work hour reduction or complete job loss. They also identified a major and immediate need missing from existing and developing COVID-19 relief programs: most initiatives fund in-kind services instead of providing families in need direct access to funds for basic necessities like rent, childcare and medical care.  

In collaboration with the California Community Foundation (CCF), GPSN established a funding distribution process set to start deploying One Family LA funds to families in need as early as this week. Four community-based organizations were awarded $15,000 each. Those organizations are Alliance for a Better Community, Parent Revolution, Communities In Schools and United Parents and Students. Through their RFP application, these organizations demonstrated their immediate capacity to deploy funds directly to families in need. In addition, CCF was provided $40,000 in One Family LA funds for their Pass It Along Fund. 

“We know that with each passing day of this pandemic the number of families in need far exceeds the funds we are collecting,” said Dr. Ana F. Ponce, Great Public School Now’s executive director. “But we are excited to start providing some direct relief to families and will continue our collective efforts to raise more funds to disperse as soon as we can collect it.”

The growing list of individuals and organizations collectively fundraising for One Family LA can be found here.

Families who have benefitted from One Family LA funding can be made available upon request.

For more information contact Jason Song at (213) 452-2804 or jsong@greatpublicschoolsnow.org

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Education Nonprofits Collectively Raising Funds to Support LA’s Most Vulnerable Families Affected by Coronavirus Pandemic

Great Public Schools Now matching funding, over $100,000 available for distribution

March 18, 2020 (Los Angeles,CA)- As the Covid-19 pandemic continues, it’s clear that among LA’s most vulnerable are our low-income and immigrant working families. School closures have left these families without childcare with many facing the difficult decision to miss work without pay to care for their children. Each passing day, these families continue to disproportionately bear additional dire impacts including the loss of work hours or shifts, and perhaps even their jobs. Many are without the necessary funds to pay for basic necessities such as food, rent and medical care and many more families will be in this position as the pandemic continues.

Supporting these families requires collective action. That’s why Great Public Schools Now (GPSN) and over 20 non-profit organizations collectively launched One Family LA, a fundraising effort to help LA's families and their children in this difficult time. Every dollar donated will go straight to families most economically impacted by Covid-19 to cover food, rent and medical care. GPSN  is collecting donations, working with community partners to disburse the funds directly to families and has committed to matching the first $48,000 raised.

The initiative was conceived on Saturday, March 14 and launched Monday, March 16. In the first two days, over $55,000 was raised from individual donations and with the GPSN match, over $100,000 is available for distribution to families. GPSN and its partners are collaborating with the California Community Foundation to roll-out the next phase of the launch, which includes finalizing the process for families to apply for assistance and the mechanism for disbursement. The immediate goal is to start disbursing funds as soon as possible.

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Great Public Schools Now Statement on LA Unified School Closures

GPSN Executive Director Dr. Ana F. Ponce Statement on Closure of LA Unified Campuses

March 13, 2020 (Los Angeles, CA)- Great Public Schools Now supports L.A. Unified’s decision to close schools to protect the health of our communities while also continuing to provide critical resources to families including meals and child care.

We are also heartened that students will be able to continue to learn via televised and online lessons. We applaud the district’s decision to keep paying their employees. We support efforts and calls by LAUSD and other Los Angeles leaders to seek state and federal resources to support our public schools, families and students. Preventing the spread of COVID-19 must be a priority to prevent further health risks and societal disruptions.  Although the spread is the primary impact we must also mitigate the multiple known and unknown ripple effects. We need to ensure our families and students are supported in the uncertain economic times ahead. 

Schools are not only centers of learning but also the safety net for many families, especially for low-income and immigrant communities. By continuing to provide critical services to families, the district is ensuring that parents, especially those who don’t have sick leave or the ability to work from home, can know that their children are safe and being cared for while they work. 

GPSN knows that this was a difficult decision for district leadership and thank them for their leadership.

-Dr. Ana F. Ponce,

Executive Director, Great Public Schools Now

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Tommy Chang Joins GPSN

Tommy Chang Joins GPSN

Dec. 9, 2019 (Los Angeles, CA)- Great Public Schools Now today announced that Dr. Tommy Chang will join the nonprofit organization as Senior Advisor of Strategy and Programs. Chang recently served three years as the superintendent of Boston Public Schools and previously was a senior administrator at L.A. Unified and a policy director at the California Charter School Assn.

“Education has played a central part in my entire life, and I am excited to be part of Great Public Schools Now and to work to ensure that every student in Los Angeles has a great public school to attend,”  Chang said. “I look forward to continuing my previous relationships in Los Angeles, as well as forging new ones with Supt. Austin Buetner, board members, and educators to find innovative ways to increase educational opportunity for all children.”

GPSN has partnered with L.A. Unified on many projects, including investing to replicate three high-quality campuses in South L.A. that currently serve nearly 700 students.

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Ana Ponce to Lead Great Public Schools Now

Ana Ponce to Lead Great Public Schools Now

Camino Nuevo Charter Academy CEO to join GPSN on Feb. 1st

Nov. 29, 2018 (LOS ANGELES, CA) - The Board of Great Public Schools Now announced today that it has chosen Ana Ponce as the organization’s new Executive Director. Ponce is the Chief Executive Officer of Camino Nuevo Charter Academy, a network of high-performing schools in the MacArthur Park area.

Ponce will join GPSN after almost 18 years at Camino Nuevo, where she led the organization as it grew from one to eight schools. Camino Nuevo currently serves more than 3,600 students from Pre-K to 12th grade and has graduated more than 1,200 alumni. At Camino Nuevo, nearly 80 percent of students enter school as English language learners, more than 97 percent graduate high school, and nine in 10 go on to college. For her efforts, Ana was named one of the top seven most powerful educators in the world by Forbes magazine in 2011.

Ponce grew up in Los Angeles and holds multiple degrees from Middlebury College, Columbia University, UCLA, and Loyola Marymount University. She spent a decade as a classroom teacher and founding team member of the first startup charter school in South L.A. before joining Camino Nuevo in 2001. She is also a national board member of UnidosUS, a national advocacy organization, and a founding member and advisory committee member of EdLoC, an organization dedicated to elevating the leadership, voices, and influence of people of color in education and to improving public education through more inclusion efforts.

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