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The new program supports educators in Orange County K-12 schools, providing classroom project-based learning opportunities

NEWPORT BEACH, Calif. (Mar. 6, 2023) — Today, the Orange County Community Foundation (OCCF), in partnership with Sona Shah, Founder & CEO of My Private Professor, announced the recipients of the recently developed Inspired Teacher Grant Program. The program is granting more than $100,000 to Orange County K-12 public and charter schoolteachers providing classroom project-based learning.

As an OCCF fund advisor through the Inspire Philanthropy Fund, Shah’s experience with OCCF’s impact as an expert guide and steward for Orange County philanthropy led her to approach the organization in 2022 to lead the grant program. In addition to her role with My Private Professor, Shah also serves as President of Tustin Public Schools Foundation and sits on the Orangewood Foundation’s board of directors. Alongside Shah, OCCF partnered with other donors to launch a pooled fund supporting teachers in Orange County K-12 schools.

OCCF Inspired Teacher Grant Program

The grants will support hands‐on classroom projects and field trips that encourage experiential learning, enhance student understanding, and increase student achievement in relation to the California curriculum standards. A total of $100,363 in grants were awarded to 30 projects across 25 schools, which will support 11 field trips and 19 projects, serving 5,400 students.

“We’re thrilled that Sona approached us with this vital effort to provide equitable access for project-based learning in Orange County classrooms,” said Shelley Hoss, president and CEO of the Orange County Community Foundation. “These opportunities are imperative to increasing academic achievement and igniting the promise and potential of our youth.”

“It’s been such a pleasure working with the incredible team at Orange County Community Foundation to turn this vision into reality,” notes Shah. “We are grateful to be able to give our teachers the resources they need to help our students thrive, & look forward making this a sustainable program that supports our teachers so they can better support our students.”

Inspired Teacher Grant Program recipients include Bernice Ayer Middle School, Cesar E. Chavez High School, Cypress Village Elementary, Dale Junior High School, Dr. Peter Marshall Elementary School, Gerald P. Carr Intermediate, Heninger Elementary, Heroes Elementary, Hope School, Lexington Junior High, Loara High School, Lowell Elementary, Magnolia High School, Niguel Hills Middle School, Orange County School of the Arts, Pacific Drive Elementary School, Parkview School, Paul Revere Elementary School, Romero-Cruz Academy, Samueli Academy, Santa Ana High School, Santa Ana High School, Santiago High School, Schmitt Elementary School, Valencia High School, Victoria Elementary School

OCCF is recognized as the center of gravity for Orange County philanthropy, acting as an unparalleled resource for local philanthropists and their families for more than 30 years by offering unique insights, deep knowledge, and a diverse array of tools to support both lifetime and legacy giving. To learn more about the Orange County Community Foundation, visit

About Orange County Community Foundation
Founded in 1989, the Orange County Community Foundation (OCCF) works with donors, strengthens the local nonprofit sector and works to find solutions to community needs. Since its inception, OCCF has awarded more than $900 million in grants and scholarships, ranking the organization as the 3rd most active grant maker among all U.S. community foundations. For more information, visit or call 949-553-4202. Be a part of our conversation on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Instagram. View OCCF’s 2022 annual report here.

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