IPSF Offers Students up to $1,000 for Innovative Projects


Cara Chan

Students whose projects have previously received funding but want additional funding can apply again, with IPSF offering funding for the same project for up to three years.

The Irvine Public Schools Foundation’s annual Student Innovative Grants Program is offering up to $1,000 for student-led projects, with applications due by Dec. 11. IPSF prioritizes projects dedicated to mental health and well-being, service learning, promoting positive school culture and student awareness, according to the IPSF website.

“The program began because IPSF wanted to support the incredible ideas students would often approach us about,” IPSF President and CEO Neda Eaton said. “We wanted to help students turn their ideas into a reality.”

The application requires a summary and description of the project including goals, research and other information, a timeline and funding requests including budget and expenses. Community members, corporate leaders and IUSD and IPSF staff will review and score projects.

“We believe our students have the creativity, passion and influence to make a difference among their peers, schools and communities,” Eaton said. “We hope this program [will] open up the possibilities for students and encourage them to dream bigger.”

Since 2019, IPSF has invested in two projects aside from teacher projects to support innovation and enhance the learning experience of students. Among the two was an initiative led by former Woodbridge High student and current out-of-district sophomore Gavin Zaengle. 

“We were [going to] sell chapsticks for $1 each with a note on them,” Zaengle said. “We built a station and were a week away from actually having it happen at school.”

His project’s goal was to increase awareness about bullying and spread kindness, but was halted due to COVID-19. The notes were planned to be based off of fortune cookies, with messages such as “Compliment someone” and “Say something nice today.”

Two years ago, the Passion Civics teachers won $5,000 through the IPSF Mega Grants Program and used the money to create a program modeled after IPSF’s program. They assembled a committee and used the money to award students for innovative projects.

“Students should take these types of opportunities to build profound knowledge of self through work,” social studies department chair Jon Resendez said. “It is also important to serve others besides yourself, and the projects that get funded by IPSF always pay dividends in the larger community as well.”

For more information, go to https://ipsf.net/wp-content/uploads/2020/10/studentgrantapplication2021_WEB-1.pdf.