Blue Valley schools, teachers, and students are expected to benefit greatly from a newly announced fund launched by the homegrown Johnson County tech entrepreneur who later co-founded the cloud storage giant Dropbox.
Arash Ferdowsi, a 2004 graduate of Blue Valley Northwest High School, has put up $500,000 to launch the Arash Ferdowsi Fund, which benefits the Blue Valley Educational Foundation, the organization announced Friday.
“Our schools are essential to the future of our community and our local economy,” Ferdowsi said in a release, marking the largest-ever donation to the foundation.
“I am proud to call Blue Valley my home and feel fortunate that my educational foundation was built through the support of my Blue Valley teachers and schools.”
The foundation will in December be able to begin allocating money from the fund to support classroom and district grants. It’s been founded with the hope it will grow over time, ensuring grants for teachers and schools are sustained well into the future.
“We hope that Arash’s generous donation and unique fund structure inspires more leaders in our community to contribute to Blue Valley Schools,” added Joy Ginsburg, executive director of the Blue Valley Educational Foundation.
“It is the priority of the Blue Valley Educational Foundation to support exceptional educational opportunities for our students — over and above what is possible with state funding alone,” she continued, emphasizing the importance of Ferdowsi’s gift.
“It is a very proud moment for a Blue Valley alumnus to come back and generously support the school system where he was educated. The impact Arash’s teachers made on him is now being returned in his support for our schools.”
Click here to learn more about the Blue Valley Educational Foundation or to make a gift of your own.
An Iranian immigrant, Ferdowsi’s father, Gholam, moved him and his family to Overland Park in the early 1990s specifically so he could attend school in the Blue Valley district, the foundation noted.
“Not only was the educational experience everything they had hoped for, the family also always appreciated the kindness and inclusivity of our community,” they said, noting Ferdowsi spent much of his youth volunteering time and donating money to Literacy Kansas City in support of its mission to achieve literacy for all.
Upon his graduation from the school system, where he was first in his class, Ferdowsi attended the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) where he met Drew Houston. The pair founded San Francisco-based Dropbox in 2007.
This story is possible thanks to support from the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, a private, nonpartisan foundation that works together with communities in education and entrepreneurship to create uncommon solutions and empower people to shape their futures and be successful.