Since 1990, the National Scholastic Chess Foundation has been providing the benefits of a chess education to students of all ages. Throughout our history, the majority of revenue has been generated through contracts with schools and school districts, or through PTAs. Along the way, generous donors have allowed us to expand upon our mission by:
- developing teacher training programs,
- writing curriculum that connects chess to other academic pursuits, such as our book Great Moves: Learning Chess Through History, and
- teaching chess to at-risk youth and those already caught up in the juvenile justice system.
On May 29, 2019, one of my former students hosted a small fundraising reception in his offices overlooking Bryant Park in Manhattan. Funds from this event allowed us to map our Demystifying Chess Workshop #1 to social and emotional learning competencies and deliver the workshop to Detroit Public School teachers. We launched a new website and we also completed a new extended edition of the instructional book Best Lessons of a Chess Coach. Thanks to your support, we were enjoying an exceptional year of growth.
Then, in March 2020, the coronavirus health crisis disrupted our traditional instruction model as all of our in-person instruction stopped. At the time, we were teaching chess to over 2,500 students each week in schools, after school and community programs. The NSCF, as did so many other educators, adapted to a virtual classroom model. We made dramatic cuts to reduce overhead and have made major changes to streamline our operations. We want to continue to offer chess instruction to children as much as possible, but the limited number of teaching hours available mean that chess classes cannot be the primary revenue source. We believe it will be an entire year before there is viable demand for in-school curricular and enrichment programs.
As the pandemic continues, we are challenged to re-evaluate our role as educators. We have determined that it is not enough to just try “riding the storm out.” Our approach for this next year is to focus on developing new curriculum for schools, homeschool, and community programs, and to create resources and tools that enhance online chess education.
You can help us emerge from this season of turbulence better positioned to make a lifelong impact on the children we serve.
With the generous financial commitment of our friends and benefactors who believe in the importance of our mission, our goal is to raise $200,000 to continue providing high-quality chess instruction to children from all backgrounds.
We hope you will consider assisting us in this endeavor. We have a webpage set up to facilitate online donations. Just click the link below. Thank you so much for your friendship and support.
Sunil Weeramantry, Executive Director