Random Acts of Kindness bring smiles to faces of students

For nearly 30 years, schools have accessed Random Acts of Kindness (RAK) funds provided by the La Crosse Public Education Foundation (LPEF). Each school has an RAK account: when they see a need, they write a check. RAK funds meet student needs that make it difficult for them to get to school, to be ready to learn, and to participate fully.

Teachers and staff know students best and understand their needs. They are empowered to write a check in the moment, without the family having to complete forms and interviews; allowing the student to focus on school.

  • When teachers found out a child was sleeping on the floor after the family moved, Random Acts of Kindness funds were used to purchase a bed that the family could not have afforded.
  • When two children suffered the tragic death of their father, Random Acts of Kindness funds helped their working mother pay for transportation to be sure the children made it to school and got home safely each day.
  • When a new student arrived at school without a backpack and other basic supplies, Random Acts of Kindness funds allowed the school to buy the needed items and help the child move seamlessly into her classroom.
  • When families cannot afford the cost of a school field trip, or the basketball shoes expected to be worn by all of the players on the team, or a winter coat, or a bus pass — Random Acts of Kindness funds are available to fill the need.

About half of RAK funds goes to basic needs like clothing, bedding, laundry, health exams, and hygiene supplies. About a quarter goes toward transportation to school, and another quarter for fees so that students can participate in external learning experiences, such as field trips. Examples of uses include:

  • Field trip costs
  • Bus passes
  • Snow boots/winter clothing
  • Reading glasses
  • Lab fees
  • Instrument rental/sheet music
  • College entrance exam fees
  • Graduation caps and gowns
  • Alarm clocks
  • Taxi service to transport ill students/parents to conferences
  • Clothing for musical/theater performances

This year, LPEF expects to provide over $40,000 in Random Acts of Kindness support to district schools. Spending has grown rapidly in recent years as principals and staff in our schools have worked to address growing needs.

Drawing of smiling face with eye glasses.
Self-portrait by a Hamilton Elementary student who received glasses through Random Acts of Kindness funds.
A student who was sleeping on the floor after her family moved now has a bed – and sweet dreams – due to RAK.
Major support for the Random Acts of Kindness program has been provided by Gundersen Health System.