Warriors announce $250K to Oakland, SF schools, as teachers get surprise Warriors visit

Some teachers in San Francisco and Oakland got a special surprise on Monday, along with word of financial assistance to help them better connect with students amid ongoing distant learning efforts.

A Zoom video call showed San Francisco teachers being greeted by a school official who welcomed participants to the meeting, which she described as “urgent.” She went on to note that it was “Teacher Appreciation Week” and then unveiled that they had a surprise guest who would be joining.

Faces began to light up as Warriors guard Damien Lee popped up on the call.

Teachers get surprise Zoom appearance from Warriors Damien Lee.

“We want to thank you guys for everything that you do,” Lee told the educators. “Very special and very near and dear, you know, to be able to still teach during this time to help kids out. You know the youth is our future,” he said to the smiling faces.

Teachers get surprise Zoom appearance from Warriors Damien Lee.

Warriors Damien Lee surprises San Francisco teachers in Zoom call.

The Warriors player then announced that the Warriors Community Foundation, in partnership with Hewlett Packard Enterprise would be making a $125,000 contribution to the San Francisco Unified School District. The news led to cheers, claps, and thumbs ups from the teachers. 

The surprise call was one of four made to teachers in both San Francisco and Oakland on Monday.

The Warriors said in all, a total of $250,000 will be split equally between the two school districts. 

“The funds will be used to purchase hundreds of laptops and internet hotspots for Bay Area youth, to continue physically-distant learning and aid in teacher-student connectivity amid the COVID-19 pandemic,” the Warriors said in a statement.

The team also said that the donation includes a $100,000 contribution from Warriors Head Coach Steve Kerr, who raised the money through his new podcast, Flying Coach, which he hosts with Seattle Seahawks’ Pete Carroll.

Warriors Community Foundation President Nicole Lacob, who herself is a former teacher, orchestrated the effort to match Kerr's contribution. Hewlett Packard Enterprise donated the additional funds.

“As a former high school educator, I am well-versed in some of the obstacles today’s teachers and students face with budgets, resources and technology needs,” she said, adding, “We’re extremely grateful to be in a position to assist during this time of need, as well as to honor our teachers on National Teacher Appreciation Day.”

The Warriors Community Foundation has been actively supporting San Francisco and Oakland schools amid the pandemic, with other efforts including donating thousands of bags of groceries to help the districts continue to operate their meal distribution services.