Connecting school alarms to fire stations was the message of Ring the Bell Fund when it was launched at Facebook last week. To help reinforce that message, Facebook made the first challenge grant donation of $20,000. The Ravenswood City School District will be the Fund’s first beneficiary.
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.