CONNECTED — English teacher Alexandra Dido works with students on their laptops at El Molino High School.

El Molino High School has been awarded $25,000 from the John Jordan Foundation to increase the number of classroom computers available to its students.
The school will use the funds to buy Chromebooks, which are low-priced Google laptops.
It was one of the largest grants the John Jordan Foundation made this year to Sonoma County educators.
“We were in need of adding to and updating our current Chromebook supply, so the El Molino Education Fund applied for the grant,” El Molino Principal Matt Dunkle said. “Because of lean budget times, computer purchases often come from outside sources. We are so grateful to the John Jordan Foundation.”
Currently, the school shares approximately 120 Chromebooks among the 570 students. With the grant, the school will be able to buy 87 more, plus two more carts for rolling the laptops among classrooms.
Dunkle hopes the new computers will be up and running before the end of the school year.
“One of our focuses is bringing technology into the schools,” said Lisa Wittke Schaffner, executive director of the John Jordan Foundation. “If the school can show us that they have the professional development for the teachers along with good leadership and a willingness to make sure that the computers are utilized, then we definitely look at that and make our decisions about awarding a grant.”       
The John Jordan Foundation, which was established in 2012, invests in programs that improve the quality of life for individuals by providing tools to succeed educationally and professionally. They focus on education, income stability and health access programs.
“A significant portion of the revenue from Jordan Winery funds the John Jordan Foundation,” according to the foundation’s website.
“John Jordan had a vision for the foundation around our under-resourced families,” Schaffner stated. “First of all, he knew it was not equitable all the time, and even in the best of schools, people need more resources.” 
Schaffner also explained that Jordan felt a need to support the professional development of young people because “he knows that we need a really solid workforce here in Sonoma County.”
Longtime beneficiary of Jordan’s largesse
The $25,000 grant is just one way the Jordan Foundation has helped El Molino. For several years the John Jordan Foundation has also provided matching scholarship grants for El Molino students.       
“We want to show our gratitude to the John Jordan Foundation for their scholarship donations over the years at the annual Russian River Rotary Crab Feed,” Dunkle said. “The foundation contributes up to $10,000 a year in matching grants for senior scholarships. We are grateful for their support.”
Every year the John Jordan Foundation also awards about 100 Teacher’s Wishes mini-grants of $300 each. El Molino teachers often benefit.
“It was our first program that we started in 2012, and it was absolutely John Jordan’s idea,” Schaffner said. “Every teacher that applies and doesn’t get granted gets a $20 gift card.”
“As a classroom teacher, I actually received one of their teacher mini-grants years ago,” said Mary Bracken, president of the El Molino Education Fund, the organization that submitted the grant.            
“John was struck by the commitment of teachers to take money out of their own pockets to fund things,” Schaffner said, “and I think that he just believed that this was the community where he wanted to give his money.”
Jordan “believes successful small businesses should play an active role in improving the lives of our most vulnerable fellow citizens,” according to the foundation’s website.
About the El Molino Education Fund
The El Molino Education Fund raises money and researches grants for classroom instruction. The organization is comprised of parents, alumni, administrators, current staff and former staff. New members are always welcome.
“We would love to see new people join us for new ideas and for new energy,” Bracken said. “The door is wide open for any parent involvement.” 
The group meets the third Wednesday of each month at 5 p.m. at El Molino High School. Visit their website at
For more information about the John Jordan Foundation, visit

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