Banking on success

Published 8:28 pm Tuesday, October 20, 2015

The Suffolk Education Foundation plays a special role in the lives of students and teachers in Suffolk Public Schools.

Founded in 1993 with funds left over from a band fundraiser, the foundation now has assets of more than $550,000. All the money it raises goes to Suffolk Public Schools staff and students to further educational opportunities and provide resources.

Its most recent round of grants will influence a wide range of students, from first-graders studying reading to middle-schoolers in need of one-on-one tutorial sessions to high-schoolers in specialized honors programs, as well as the teachers for all these students and more who find their jobs just a little bit easier and have one more resource to use to help their students succeed.

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The foundation pays certain fees for dual enrollment and Advanced Placement students who may not be otherwise able to afford full participation in these higher-level programs. The foundation also offers a number of scholarships to graduates of Suffolk Public Schools each year and helps with Teacher of the Year and Star Award employee recognitions and staff development.

Now at the helm of all these important programs is Renyatta Banks, who recently became executive director of the foundation.

“I absolutely love nonprofits,” Banks told a Suffolk News-Herald reporter this week. “I just love helping.”

Banks has pursued a career in nonprofit work, having worked during college for an organization that helps those with HIV and AIDS. She later became executive director of the YWCA Virginia Peninsula and the director of development for both the Empowerment and Uplifting Foundation and Essentials for Life.

Banks seems particularly excited to be at the Suffolk Education Foundation.

“Their mission is coming to life every day,” she said.

We wish Banks much success in leading this important organization to new heights.

The foundation accepts donations throughout the year. Visit to learn more.