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Phone-a-thons over, but school fundraisers still in full swing for the teacher-funding nonprofit

SUBMITTED PHOTO: MARY KAY LARSON - Volunteers call members of the community for donations to the Lake Oswego Schools Foundation during a phone-a-thon last week. From left: Neelam Gupta, a Forest Hills Foundation school captain and parent; Aspen Csaszar, an LOHS junior and student representative on the Foundation board; and Aspen Csaszars mom, Ashley Csaszar, an LOHS Foundation school captain and parent.   As of March 20, the Lake Oswego Schools Foundation had $1.17 million in pledges and donations, which is 20 percent higher than at the same time last year.

The official goal is $2 million. But the Foundation must at least collect $1.5 million to be able to fund 17 full-time Lake Oswego School District teaching positions as it is doing in 2016-17 at all 10 local schools. Over the past 30 years, the Foundation has raised more than $27 million to hire and retain teachers in the district.

"This $1.5 million is counted on by the district," LOSF Executive Director Mary Kay Larson wrote in a letter to new families in the district. "Without it, we would not have these teachers for our students."

Phone-a-thon season's over

A February phone-a-thon and another phone-a-thon last week helped the Foundation bust well past the halfway point toward the official goal of $2 million, Larson told The Review.

Larson said that the percentage of households participating has risen by 5 percent this same time last year, and that the average amount of donations also is 9 percent greater than in the 2015-16 campaign.

"The community is pledging its support to our schools," Larson said. "And we're very grateful for everyone's continued generosity. We are counting on every household contributing to the Foundation. It's one of the most significant ways you can make a direct and immediate impact to your student's educational experience."

She said that more than 20 volunteers called each night at March 14-16 phone-a-thon last week.

"Many of the callers are new to the Foundation, which is always exciting to see more people coming out to support the cause," Larson said. "We also emphasized calling new families."

After spring break, when school will be out from March 25-April 2, Larson said she plans to continue to call for new donations and to also ask donors to remember to transform pledges into donations before the June 30 deadline.

More opportunities to give

But the Foundation's campaign remains in full swing, with many events afoot at local schools that benefit the Foundation. Hallinan is hosting a dance-a-thon on April 5, and Westridge hosts is annual jog-a-thon during the first week in May.

Other elementary schools are holding Apples for Teachers events, an idea created by Foundation board member Elizabeth Hills. A paper tree outside each teacher's classroom, and families donate to the Foundation in order to be able to hang paper apples on those trees with personalized messages for teachers. Hills is in her third year serving as the Lake Grove Elementary School captain; the school captain is responsible for contacting the other families at the school to rally around the Foundation.

Meanwhile, at the high schools and junior high schools, givers will be entered into a drawing for their donations. The prizes are two $200 Nike gift cards and employee store passed for the junior high students, and high-schoolers have a plum prize in place as well.

"Every household with a student enrolled in high school who makes a donation to this year's Foundation campaign will be entered into a drawing to win a Princeton Review Ultimate Prep Course," Larson said.

"The certificate is redeemable for an SAT or ACT course, accomplished in-person or online, taken by spring 2018. The course is valued at $1,099."

There will be one drawing per secondary school.

"All donations, not pledges, must be received by the Foundation office by April 30 to be eligible for the (secondary school drawings)," Larson said. Recurring donations or donations made through company matches must show proof of an initiating donation to qualify, she adds.

To donate to the Foundation, visit www.losfoundation.org, and contact Larson at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 503-534-2106 to learn about other ways to help the Foundation.

Contact Lake Oswego Review reporter Jillian Daley at 503-636-1281 ext. 109 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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