School Photographers of America (SPOA) announces the formation of the American Foundation for School Photography and Yearbooks, a unique charitable organization further connecting school photography and yearbooks to the communities they serve. The foundation will set up a process where a free yearbook and a school photo package could be provided to students who are unable to afford one.
“Our intent is to provide a yearbook and a school picture package to students who are unable to do so through the normal purchasing processes,” says foundation board member Rick Pettit, vice president emeritus, Inter-State Studio & Publishing Co. “The foundation provides an opportunity where principals, administrative staff, teachers, and others from a district can send a request to the foundation to review a student’s circumstances.” Pettit says the foundation will use standardized guidelines to determine student eligibility. The foundation’s objective, he adds, is to make the rich tradition of yearbooks and school photos available to families who may not have the financial means to participate. A standardized photo package and yearbook format will be offered to participating families, so each will receive the same type of products, regardless of what school lab is providing them. The American Foundation of School Photography and Yearbooks will seek representation from national education associations and organizations to be as inclusive as possible. “The foundation represents a unification for the school photography industry,” says Pettit. “Yes, many school picture companies and yearbook companies are competitors by nature. As an industry, we've always worked hard to develop our business relationships with school decision-makers. The foundation is a way to involve the parents and children because, ultimately, that's why memories are captured through photographs and our printed products. Looking at those students who are caught in situations not created by themselves - but created by socio-economic challenges - we are reaching out and giving them an opportunity to be included with the rest of their classmates.”