With over 26,000 students and numerous honors and awards, the Lake Washington School District (LWSD) is one of the largest and most successful school districts in Washington. Part of this success is due to financial support from the community through Lake Washington Schools Foundation. Since 2005, the Foundation has awarded the district nearly $2 million to support district-wide initiatives and provide classroom tools to help all students succeed. Foundation Board President Minerva Butler, along with the Foundation’s board of trustees thanks the community for their donations and involvement in their schools.
The Foundation’s board of trustees includes: President Minerva Butler, Vice President Sarah Stone, Treasurer David Bies, Secretary Valerie Horvath, Glen Campbell, Dan Davidson, Jay Goldstein, Peg Hunt, Matt Isenhower, Shelley Kloba, Nicole MacKenzie, Kathleen Reynolds and Susan Seabrooks. Ex-officio members include District Superintendent Dr. Traci Pierce and Colette Ulloa.
Almost ten years ago, in March 2005, former LWSD Superintendent Dr. Don Saul brought together a small group of community members who believed in the importance of public education. This group envisioned a partnership between parents, businesses, community members, and the school district. Their goal was to raise money to help all students succeed.
Dr. Saul was inspired to organize a foundation after noticing the value that schools foundations were providing to neighboring school districts. Schools foundations play an important role in raising awareness of districts’ needs and provide a way for the community to engage with and provide extra funding to its schools.
According to Superintendent Pierce, “Lake Washington Schools Foundation is a key partner for the school district. They help us to build pathways for student success by funding programs that would not be possible without their support.”
The founding members became the Foundation’s first board of trustees, many of whom are still active as either advisory council or board members. Last spring, founding member Terri Blier was honored with the Foundation’s first Education Champion’s award for her dedication to Lake Washington students. Blier stepped down in June after serving on the board for over nine years, first as a member and then for two years as board president.
Blier said, “I’m proud that despite challenges over the years, the Foundation has endured and is fulfilling its founders’ original goal of equalizing the economic disparity within our district. While, there are schools that can raise many thousands of dollars for their students, there are others that can barely raise a fraction of that. The Foundation is building a stronger community by helping all children succeed.”
Tracy Hoien played a key role in the Foundation’s success, serving as a founding trustee, board president and eventually executive director. According to Hoien, “The Foundation provides the vehicle for community members to work collaboratively to raise money and provide programs that enrich our students’ education, beyond the state’s funding of basic education. It’s for the kids!”
The Foundation’s annual Legacy for Learning fundraising luncheon is currently its central fundraising campaign. Held for many years at Juanita High School, the event regularly raises well over $200,000. The Foundation invites the community to attend its 2015 luncheon, scheduled for April 29, at which it will celebrate ten years of investing in students and schools. There are opportunities for businesses and organizations to sponsor the event.
Over the past ten years, the Foundation has funded a variety of school needs. It has helped children attend summer school, supported the LINKS mentoring and tutoring program, and awarded Reaching for Success classroom grants. It has recently invested in a support program for new teachers and a high school anti-bullying program.
Based on school district and community interest, the Foundation has made science a special focus. This investment started in 2007 with funding for middle and high school laboratory equipment. Most recently, the Foundation helped launch the district’s new STEM-based Signature Programs in all high schools with grants totaling $320,000.
In addition to support from the community, other major donors include Microsoft, Waste Management, Sodexo, the Discuren Charitable and Wockner Foundations, local governments and PTSAs. For a complete list of sponsors, please visit our website at www.lwsf.org/investors.
The Foundation is currently reminding the community that it has a stake in the success of its schools with the theme of its fall fundraising campaign, “Our Kids, Our Future—It’s Up to Us!” Help the Foundation reach its fall campaign goal of $25,000 by making a donation today at www.lwsf.org/donate.