Joachim (L), 8, whose school was closed following the Coronavirus outbreak, records a message to his … [+]
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In this moment of instability and uncertainty, Yoobi’s CEO Ido Leffler is leading by example.
“From the minute we saw school closures on the news, we knew we had to act,” he says.
Over 55 million students in K-12 schools, both public and private, have already been affected by school closures according to statistics updated today by Education Week. As schools have transitioned to distance-learning, Leffler and his partners at Kids in Need Foundation have asked themselves the question: who is providing school supplies so kids can learn effectively at home?
This week, Yoobi announced that the company has impacted over 5 million students across the country since its founding in 2014. They have continued to expand their reach by partnering with actress Kristen Bell on a new initiative called #FeaturedTeacherFridays, which began last week. For five Fridays Bell and Yoobi plan to select a teacher that is making an impact in a community of students relying on distance-learning during the epidemic.
Each of these teachers will be receiving 250 Yoobi classroom packs with enough individual kits to be distributed to be 1,250 students. Yoobi and Bell plan to reach 37,500 students through this initiative.
“We are passionate about ensuring that kids have the supplies they need to succeed in school. It has been a real blessing to work alongside Yoobi over these past six years, as they have given over 73 million school supplies for underserved kids throughout the country,”said Corey Gordon, CEO of Kids in Need Foundation
Ido Leffler is an investor and advisor that has been involved in start-ups including Yes To Inc., Cheeky, and Brandless. Leffler is the co-founder and CEO of Yoobi, an online store selling school and office supplies with a buy-one-give-one model. For every item purchased on their online store, or through Target, Yoobi donates a school supply item to a “Yoobi Classroom Pack.”
Yoobi was founded with the intention of supplying teachers with learning supplies they needed in their classrooms. The company’s focus was on how much teachers spend on school supplies out of their own pocket. Leffler refers to a statistic released by the Department of Education in 2018, that 94% of public school teachers bought supplies without being reimbursed in the 2014-15 academic year.
The Kids in Need Foundation identifies schools in need, where 70% or more students are eligible for free or reduced-price meals through the National School Lunch Program. Based on submissions from these schools, Kristin Bell selects and features a teacher in the district to receive the supplies. The teachers are chosen because they are community leaders, and both Bell and Yoobi give them the resources to distribute supplies within their school district. The Yoobi school supplies are distributed alongside free lunches, according to the spokesperson for Yoobi.
“I know firsthand how important good teachers are not only in the lives of their students, but also among their communities as leaders kids look up to,” says Leffler.
Leffler’s mother was a school teacher in Australia who tried her hardest to give back to her students despite a tight salary, according to a spokesperson for Yoobi.
Leffler offers the following advice for start-ups and entrepreneurs struggling to find ways to five back during this period:
“Now more than ever we have seen how important the give is, and I hope to see more companies embrace the impact they can have on the world as we one day move on from this pandemic and begin to heal together,” says Leffler.