FPS receives $1,000 donation from local apartment complex

By: Jonathan Shead | Farmington Press | Published November 20, 2020

 Assistant Superintendent of Diversity Equity and Inclusion Dr. Bobbie Goodrum receives a $1,000 check from Stephanie Trivax and Justin Becker of Brookfield Management.

Assistant Superintendent of Diversity Equity and Inclusion Dr. Bobbie Goodrum receives a $1,000 check from Stephanie Trivax and Justin Becker of Brookfield Management.

Photo by Deb Jacques

FARMINGTON/HILLS — One way or another, COVID-19 has impacted us all, but luckily, 2020 hasn’t been all bad.

Little rays of sunshine continue to cut through an otherwise cloudy year, such as the $1,000 donation Brookfield Management Co., which owns Farmington Hills-based Botsford Place Terrace Apartments, recently made to Farmington Public Schools’ Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Department.

After seeing firsthand the hurdles the pandemic and remote learning has caused many working and low-income families, Brookfield Management owner Justin Becker wanted to lend a helping hand.

“We understand that times have been tough for people. … We understand a lot of the schools are virtual. That’s affecting our residents, maybe being able to work normal hours and stuff like that,” Becker said. “We’re always trying to think of ways we can help our community. We collectively thought, naturally, the school system would be one of those avenues.”

The $1,000 was requested to be used to help low-income families fund opportunities like field trips, athletic equipment and in-school activities that parents otherwise may not be able to afford.

“We’re going to make sure that money is utilized probably in our Title I schools, where we have the highest percentage of students who are eligible for free and reduced lunch,” Assistant Superintendent of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Bobbie Goodrum said. “That is likely going to be our focus, and making sure we can provide those funds so students can participate in activities we have that have costs associated with them.”

Goodrum explained that the donation has an even greater impact now, with more families struggling because of the pandemic.

“Especially now, we have many families who are struggling, and even though we don’t have a lot of activities, providing extracurricular activities or field trips, we still do have some opportunities for students that are sometimes associated with a cost,” Goodrum said. “This could be a benefit to those families who aren’t in a position to pay those fees or costs right now.”

While the donation focuses more on closing the economic equity gap for students at the district, Goodrum said the funds could inadvertently assist other areas of inclusion in the district too. More students, from a larger pool of backgrounds, could lead to greater representation in those clubs and activities students end up participating in.

The funding could help more students participate in cultural programming within the district, such as Hillside Elementary School’s Dream Kings and Pretty Brown Girls clubs, or the district’s robotics clubs, Goodrum said.

How long the money lasts for the district depends entirely on the immediate needs and student involvement, she added. “We will use it to provide opportunities for as many students as possible, but if the money is not spent right away it will be reserved in an account for the activities specified by the donor.”

Overall, Becker just hopes his company’s donation helps to close the economic gaps some families are facing currently.

“I think people are always surprised at the percentage of economically disadvantaged families that we have in (the district),” Goodrum said. “It’s great that organizations, institutions and businesses, such as this apartment company, recognize there is this economic diversity within (the district) and we do have families in need. We’re very appreciative of them.”

For more information, visit farmington.k12.mi.us.