Maps Credit Union and Maps Community Foundation were recently recognized with a Salem-Keizer Public Schools’ Community Partner Spotlight on Success for our 2021-22 Teacher Grant program!
The Spotlight award was presented at the February 8 Salem-Keizer School Board meeting by Teresa Alfaro, Hammond Elementary School Principal, who described several of the Salem-Keizer projects that will benefit from funding, including her own Hammond teacher, Claty Austrie, who will use funds to purchase a color printer to create courses that support students needing sensory and movement breaks.

Read more about Maps Credit Union and Maps Community Foundation, recognized as the Community Partner of the Month for Salem-Keizer School District.

In total, Maps Community Foundation awarded $25,500 in Teacher Grants this year, with individual grants ranging from $350 to $1,000. The funds are part of the Foundation’s Education impact area, and this program is closely tied to our roots as a teacher’s credit union. We are so grateful for ALL the teachers in our region! 

You can read more about each of the inspiring projects below, and how they are making a difference for local students and schools.

  • Claty Austrie of Hammond Elementary School  will purchase a color printer to create outdoor and hallway sensory courses to support students needing sensory and movement breaks.
  • Cortney Dupree of McKay High School will provide college field trips for three classes of Junior AVID students, many of whom have been in this college prep program since middle school but have yet to set foot on a college campus. 
  • Kristi Auvinen of Washington Elementary School will add additional activities in “The Zen Den”—a sensory regulation room that students utilize when they need assistance with getting their mind and body calm and ready to be successful in school. 
  • Anisa Rodriguez-Foroughi of Chávez Elementary School will purchase Ukuleles to start the Si Se Puede Ukulele club to provide students with the opportunity to learn musical skills, build music literacy, and learn about different cultural backgrounds.
  • Valeria Jacome of Chávez Elementary School will purchase diverse, bilingual books to expand her classroom library to better meet the needs of her students, many of whom are from migrant, low-income families and cannot afford to buy books.
  • Maylea Tooze Woods of Parrish Middle School will purchase materials for the school’s woodshop department to build more plyometric boxes to incorporate CrossFit-type workouts into PE to challenge and motivate students to improve their fitness and health in a fun way.
  • Michael Hofmann of North Salem High School will put the funding towards a gel electrophoresis machine to enable students in his Forensics Science class to separate, measure and analyze DNA to help them understand its fingerprint and how families are connected.
  • Ginger Lessey of Richmond Elementary School will purchase sets of leveled books to use in her K-5 reading intervention groups that support struggling readers, especially those who have fallen behind as a result of the pandemic.
  • Kira Bowers and Moises Mendoza Medina of Claggett Creek Middle School will purchase the first new PE equipment in over 5 years, providing a ball for each student so that they can actively participate together in PE class at the same time.
  • Michelle Nowlin of Gubser Elementary School will buy headphones and microphones to support Kindergarten small group learning centers and the Seesaw digital platform.
  • Britton Castor of Falls City High School will use grant funds for travel to business site tours, as well as clothes, resume paper and other supplies needed for the school career readiness program run by a small group of dedicated teachers.
  • Jonathan Ellingson of Falls City High School will use the grant to help pay for printing costs and equipment for a new school newspaper/art magazine that will foster community and improve student morale and academic achievement.
  • Ellie Oven of Independence Elementary School will purchase flexible seating, such as wobble stools and balance chairs, so that students can choose the seating option that allows them to get their wiggles out while still actively learning.
  • Ronda True of Silver Crest School will purchase mentor texts that model great reading and writing strategies for both her own classroom library and all of the school’s K-5 teachers.
  • Ryan Marshall and Tracy Isham of South Salem High School will purchase furniture, therapeutic tools, rugs, lighting, and sensory fidgets for a new Calm Room in the Counseling Center so that the increasing number of students impacted by anxiety and stress have a place to take mental health breaks to support their emotional well-being and keep them at school.
  • Alison Kaiser of Crossler Middle School will purchase high-quality and high-interest graphic novels for the Deaf/Hard of Hearing Resource Room where students from three counties benefit from being educated in a mainstream setting with hearing students.
  • Amy Campbell of Liberty Elementary School will purchase an entire social emotional learning curriculum called A Little Spot of Emotion to get students thinking about their feelings and the feelings of others.
  • Lisa Squires of Judson Middle School will purchase items to create a Counseling Center space that is inviting and calm to support social and emotional learning and encourage students experiencing grief, trauma, and anxiety to seek out support and healthy coping methods.
  • Katy Ranzoni of Aumsville Elementary School will purchase hands-on math manipulatives to help students build models and see math in concrete rather than abstract ways.
  • Amber Gardner of Sublimity School will purchase supplies to create STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) focused hands-on activity bins for her kindergarten classroom to create a sense of wonder and love for learning.
  • Katie Hurley of Stayton Elementary School will purchase supplies for art projects for the kindergarten classrooms because she believes that when kids can build and create things with their hands their brains grow even more.
  • Jenna Miller of Kalapuya Elementary School will purchase kindergarten classroom supplies for math and literacy centers that are focused on sensory and fine motor skill development and interactive play.
  • Ryan Link-Cole of West Salem High School will purchase Go!Link Sensor Interfaces that will provide students with the digital tools to better collect data in science class.
  • Mary Ann Elmore of Brush College Elementary School will purchase flexible seating options and florescent light covers to promote a healthy learning environment for her active learners and those experiencing sensory overload.
  • Meredith Akin of North Marion Primary School will purchase books for a take-home reading program for first grade families that is culturally relevant and accessible to all and will contribute to fostering a love of reading and books.
  • Jason Rodgers of Valor Middle School will purchase keyboards and microphones for his Music Technology class that features a web-based recording studio where students can create and record their own songs and podcasts.
  • Fatima Chacon Martinez of Woodburn High School will provide field trips and other opportunities for her students to experience the arts through her Latinx Studies class that explores and celebrates Latinx experiences, culture, literature, and history.
  • Robert Salberg of Howard Street Charter School will purchase supplies for middle school students to create visual art and outdoor décor that will be used to beautify micro-shelters that provide housing through nonprofit partners to the unsheltered in Salem.
  • Karina Searle of Salem-Keizer AVID Program will purchase a variety of gift cards that will be used to recognize and celebrate hardworking AVID students who have overcome barriers and are succeeding on the path toward college and career readiness.


The grants are funded by Maps Community Foundation accounts, which invests a penny in the community each time a member uses a Maps Community Checking debit card. Last year, debit card use brought in $120,000 for teacher grants, community grants, scholarships, financial education, and non-profit support.

Look for the next round of teacher grant applications to be announced – fall of 2022!

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