When Katie Brandow, founder of The School of Enrichment in Bend, Oregon was looking for the perfect learning experience for her daughter, she kept coming up empty. Undeterred, she decided to stop searching and instead, create her own school. “I wanted a school that is built on a social emotional foundation which prioritizes the thoughts and feelings of the children,” says Brandow. “Through much hard work and determination, that is exactly the kind of educational experience we have created here.”

Yet as the school creates an environment to foster of love of learning, the global pandemic unfortunately has created an environment of closure. “From March to June we were closed due to COVID,” says Brandow. “We’ve lost staff and had to reduce our population of students. It has been so difficult to meet new health guidelines while meeting the needs of our children. The toll on our student’s families has been very harsh.”

As an educator, Brandow know the importance of collaboration, and that is why she and the School of Enrichment are participating in Columbia Bank’s Pass It On Project. Helping to ease some of the economic stress for families, School of Enrichment is providing reduced tuition to families in need and Columbia Bank is paying the bill. “We are passing it on to several families who have been severely impacted by COVID,” says Brandow. “With Columbia Bank’s help, we will be covering a portion of their tuition and fees so their children can get back to the learning they love.”