POMONA – A sky dome planetarium opened the heavens to the wondrous eyes of Pomona Unified students at the May 3 Ross/McCracken Learning Expo – the latest in a long series of learning opportunities made possible through the efforts of the Pomona Unified Partners in Learning Foundation, known as PUPIL.

On Thursday, May 21, PUPIL will continue its whirlwind of activity with its second annual Scholarship Luncheon, a program that has brought together business community leaders to support graduating PUSD high school seniors in their pursuit of college and careers.

“PUPIL works tirelessly to advocate for state-of-the-art learning opportunities, and it has translated into some of the most robust science and technology programs at Pomona Unified,” PUSD Board President Andrew Wong said. “I want to thank PUPIL for its dedication to student learning and for being an incredible resource for our District.”

Pomona Unified created the foundation in 2013 to promote innovative student learning opportunities in science, technology, engineering, arts, agriculture and math (STEAM).

So far, the foundation has distributed more than $100,000 in philanthropic funds to upgrade learning equipment at District schools, formed community alliances that provide funding for student support services and partnered with community organizations to provide additional activities, resources and programs throughout the year.

Most recently, the PUPIL Foundation partnered with the Pomona Youth and Family Master Plan and Fairplex to host the eighth annual Ross/McCracken Learning Expo at the Fairplex in Pomona. The event, held to pique student interest in STEAM subjects, showcased student school projects and offered interactive activities, including the sky dome planetarium, health screenings and music and dance shows.

In December, PUPIL established a community alliance with Pomona-based 7-Eleven stores, initiated through a donation totaling $7,011 – a gift that will be repeated by each area franchise to support programs on mental health, alcohol and substance abuse, domestic violence, health care and housing needs at the District’s Family Support and Resource Center.

PUPIL Foundation CEO Samuel Tharpe said PUPIL’s primary responsibility is to make sure all donations are used to support programs that promote innovative learning and academic excellence for Pomona Unified students.

“PUPIL has a tremendous responsibility, both to Pomona Unified students and to our community donors, to ensure we direct funds where they will have the strongest and most lasting impacts,” Tharpe said. “It is also an immensely rewarding task, seeing new programs and services take shape to benefit these amazing students.”

In December, Pomona Unified received a $100,000 donation from the Todd Family Foundation – funds the foundation split between La Verne Science and Technology Charter School and Palomares Academy of Health Sciences.

La Verne Science and Technology built a modern science lab; Palomares Academy created a robotics center and an outdoor atrium that encourages students to explore earth sciences.

“The PUPIL Foundation is constantly forging new pathways with community partners to sustain student achievement and learning within the District,” Superintendent Richard Martinez said. “When students are able to gain hands-on experience through a STEAM program that has been enhanced by a PUPIL donation, we are inspiring students to become active, lifelong learners.”

In addition to sponsoring STEAM-related programs, PUPIL will recognize the accomplishments of seniors at the Scholarship Luncheon, which will be held from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. May 21 at the Sheraton Fairplex Avalon Room, 601 W. McKinley Ave., Pomona.

For more information on sponsorship opportunities, visit www.pupilfoundation.org.