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The Fall 2013 issue of Piper Magazine, the official magazine of the Junior League Palo Alto * Mid-Peninsula, includes an article on Virginia (a League Sustainer) and Ring The Bell Fund!
RING THE BELL FUND
School Fire Safety Ignites Sustainer's Passion
Fire drills are commonplace at California schools, but when it comes to other aspects of fire safety, such as automatic sprinklers and monitored fire alarms, many schools - including nearly of the public school districts in San Mateo County - are lacking. What's more, current state law doesn't require such precautions.
That unsettling reality prompted League Sustainer Virginia Chang Kiraly and her husband, Ken, to found Ring The Bell Fund, which aims to provide much-needed funds for all California schools to install sprinkers and connect their fire alarm systems with their associated fire departments or fire districts.
"Like me, I think many parents assume that school fire alarms are connected to a first responder," says Kiraly, director of the Menlo Park Fire Protection District and president of the Fund. "As a former PTA President and Chair of the League's Survive Alive House project, I began thinking that educating children about fire safety wasn't enough, sespecially when a first responder might not have any idea that there is an emergency."
The Menlo Park-based nonprofit launched in May, less than eight months after a fire at Menlo Park's Beechwood School. Despite being located just one mile from the closest fire station, the school's fire alarm was not connected to the local fire protection district.
The Fund has already received a $20,000 challenge grant from Facebook and was granted tax-exempt/nonprofit status from the IRS in August. "During this waiting period, I have looked for grant opportunities and potential donors and partners to help us fulfill our mission in the most cost-effective and expedient way possible," Kiraly reports. "It's a huge task, and our board has been creative, resourceful and caring as we figure out how to tackle this enormous problem within our immediate community and, eventually, statewide."
For more information, visit www.ringthebellfund.org.
(You can view a PDF scan of the original article here. )
If you use Amazon.com for any of your online shopping needs, you can now support Ring The Bell Fund at no extra cost or expense to you simply by shopping via AmazonSmile!
When you shop at smile.amazon.com, you’ll find the exact same low prices, vast selection and convenient shopping experience as Amazon.com, with the added bonus that Amazon will donate a portion of the purchase price to Ring The Bell Fund!
To give this a try, simply click here to begin shopping, or click on the "Get Started" button below:
You can learn more about AmazonSmile at the About AmazonSmile page.
As we have reached full registered non-profit status, we have initiated our grant application submission process to various companies and organizations!
This will be an ongoing process, as different companies have different timelines and deadlines throughout the year.
Ring The Bell Fund has been granted full non-profit status under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. All donations to the fund are tax-deductible (and all donations made to the fund to date are tax-deductible as well). Please feel free to contact donations@RingTheBellFund.org for more information!
InMenlo: Virginia Chang Kiraly launches Ring the Bell Fund to bring monitored alarm systems to schools
InMenlo interviews Ring The Bell Fund founder Virginia Chang Kiraly in an article that gives background on Virginia and Ring The Bell Fund.
On a mission to connect school fire alarms to fire stations, the new nonprofit Ring the Bell Fund collected $20,000 from Facebook on May 2. The social media company is challenging others to match its donation.
MENLO PARK, CA – Connecting school alarms to fire stations was the compelling message of Ring the Bell Fund when it was launched at Facebook yesterday. To help reinforce that message, Facebook made the first challenge grant donation of $20,000.00 last night. The Ravenswood City School District will be the Fund’s first beneficiary.
“From the moment we learned about Ring The Bell Fund’s mission, we wanted to help,” said Tom Wirth, Facilities Operations Manager and board member of Ring The Bell Fund. “Their commitment to keep our schools and communities safe aligns with Facebook’s interest in being a good neighbor. We also want to encourage other businesses, community partners, and potential donors to help fund this need across the state.”
“Ring The Bell Fund’s launch was a great way to create awareness about an issue that is not widely known,” President and Founder Virginia Chang Kiraly said. “Parents all over California assume that our schools are equipped with automatic sprinklers and monitored fire alarms. Many are not and don’t have to be legally. There are gaps in the current state legislation that leave our schools vulnerable to fires and other safety issues that could cause a school fire.”
The launch featured a panel discussion on how to improve school safety and ways that Ring The Bell Fund could fill a funding gap. Panelists included Ted Lempert, President of the San Mateo County Board of Education; Menlo Park Fire Chief Harold Schapelhouman; East Palo Alto Police Chief Ron Davis; Ravenswood City School District Superintendent Maria De La Vega; and Virginia Chang Kiraly, former foreperson of the San Mateo County Civil Grand Jury that investigated the lack of school fire alarm connections in San Mateo County public schools in 2009.
“We are so grateful for of our amazing community partners, such as Facebook and Alston & Bird, who has provided valuable legal services to Ring The Bell Fund,” said Chang Kiraly. “We are very excited about these partnerships and thankful for Facebook’s generous gift, which we hope will inspire others to give.” Ring The Bell Fund is an incorporated nonprofit awaiting the U.S. Internal Revenue Service to grant tax-exempt status and was incorporated in late October 2012. The Fund welcomes donations. Once the Fund’s tax-exempt status is granted, it will be retroactively applied to all donations.
Ring The Bell Fund is a California nonprofit organization that was founded to help provide much-needed funds for all schools to connect monitored fire alarms systems with their associated fire departments or fire districts, and to install sprinklers in the schools to maximize safety and minimize property damage. Ring The Bell Fund is based in Menlo Park, California.