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Community members gather to celebrate 30th anniversary of Foundation for VPS

Record donation of $250,000 announced at event earlier this month

VANCOUVER — More than 500 community members gathered at the Vancouver Hilton earlier this month for the Foundation for Vancouver Public Schools (VPS) annual luncheon, celebrating the organization’s 30th anniversary and donating over $250,000 to support VPS students. During the event, Executive Director Nada Wheelock announced the largest single individual donation ever pledged, $500,000, by an anonymous donor.

Audience members participate in choir performances by Chinook and Fruit Valley elementary schools at the Foundation for Vancouver Public Schools annual luncheon. Photo courtesy of Foundation for Vancouver Public Schools
Audience members participate in choir performances by Chinook and Fruit Valley elementary schools at the Foundation for Vancouver Public Schools annual luncheon. Photo courtesy of Foundation for Vancouver Public Schools

“In our 30th year, support for students has never been stronger,” said Wheelock. “We are grateful to our generous event sponsors and all of our donors for demonstrating their commitment to helping local students thrive.”

Thanks to event sponsors, all money raised during the luncheon goes directly to support a wide range of student needs, learning enrichment experiences, and mentoring support benefitting approximately 24,000 students at 37 schools and programs across the district.

The luncheon’s program included remarks by Mariah McCleskey, a community volunteer, teacher, and Foundation for VPS Board Member, who shared a story of a student who now can hear thanks to support from the Foundation and caring community partners.

“Resources provided by the Foundation for VPS can mean the difference between a child getting help with urgent and unmet needs or suffering in silence; between a child struggling or thriving in school,” said McCleskey. “When we recognize something may be wrong and when we respond, children can access the support they need to be healthy, ready to learn and able to reach their full potential.”

Culinary Arts students from Fort Vancouver High School prepared and catered the meal at the Foundation for Vancouver Public Schools annual luncheon. Photo courtesy of Foundation for Vancouver Public Schools
Culinary Arts students from Fort Vancouver High School prepared and catered the meal at the Foundation for Vancouver Public Schools annual luncheon. Photo courtesy of Foundation for Vancouver Public Schools

Guests enjoyed a meal prepared and served by culinary students from Fort Vancouver High School Center for International Studies. Hudson’s Bay High School horticulture students designed the floral centerpieces and entertainment was provided by choirs from Fruit Valley and Chinook Elementary Schools.

For the past 30 years, the Foundation for Vancouver Public Schools has leveraged financial support from the community to remove barriers so students come to school healthy, happy and ready to learn. For far too many of Vancouver’s children, poverty presents barriers to learning. The level of need is increasing along with Vancouver’s population. Almost half of the 24,000 VPS students qualify for free or reduced-price meals, a federal indicator of poverty and more than 1,000 students experienced homelessness during the school year.

The Foundation for VPS funds basic needs, mentoring, enrichment, and early education programs that reach each of the 37 district schools and programs. Programs supported through the foundation include grants to fund enrichment activities, support of 18 Family-Community Resource Centers and two mobile units, the Principals’ Emergency Basic Needs Account, Lunch Buddies and other mentoring programs, and additional services that support students and education.  

The Foundation for Vancouver Public Schools is an independent, 501(c)3 educational nonprofit corporation established in 1988 to support Vancouver Public Schools (VPS). Governed by a volunteer board of directors made up of business, community, and education leaders, the foundation creates opportunities to cultivate and inspire student success. As an educational non-profit entity, the foundation serves 37 Vancouver schools and programs, providing financial assistance and programs not funded by VPS.

The Foundation for VPS is supported by donations from school employees, parents, students, community members, organizations and businesses. Visit www.FoundationforVPS.org for more information.

Information provided by Foundation for Vancouver Public Schools.

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