The Foundation for Vancouver Public Schools’ (VPS) biggest community fundraiser of the year raised over $250,000 in donations from generous businesses and individuals through an online giving event. The total includes $80,000 in matching funds from the “Give a Fox” Fund, a partnership between LSW Architects and Slumberkins. Over 600 guests initially planned on attending the Annual Luncheon in person.
“We are thankful to the Vancouver community, organizations, our Community Champions Circle, and event sponsors who stepped up and supported our mission through our online event despite these incredibly challenging times,” said Nada Wheelock, Executive Director. “Now, more than ever, your support really does change lives.” Wheelock expressed gratitude for the many individuals who worked in preparation of the Luncheon, including staff, board members, table captains, students and teachers. “By moving to an online event, we were able to reach an even larger audience. Thank you for your enthusiasm in carrying this work forward!”
Many students and VPS staff work behind the scenes and “in front of the house” to contribute to the Annual Luncheon’s success. A variety of student entertainment groups have entertained guests, students take photographs, and Hudson’s Bay FFA Floral & Horticulture students designed floral arrangements. Each year guests enjoy a buffet lunch prepared and served by students from the Culinary Arts program at Fort Vancouver Center for International Studies.
Fifty-five culinary students were preparing for this year’s event, from planning and producing the food in the magnet/career focus class, which program advisor Rebecca Angell calls “zen work,” to practicing for “front of the house” set up and service of guests. ”We are truly grateful for these students and know that they are resilient and solution oriented,” said Angell. They encourage you to try some of the recipes they had developed for the 2020 Luncheon and to view some of the behind the scenes photos.
The Foundation for VPS has released two new videos that demonstrate the collective impact of our community on changing lives. Both are available on the Foundation’s website and youTube channel. “Caiti’s Story” tells the incredible story and positive outcome when many caring individuals rallied to support a student during her time of need. “Connecting with Families: A day in the life of a Family-Community Resource Coordinator” shares how one of the district’s 20 FCRC coordinators connects with families during the school year with the help of Foundation for VPS funding and has continued to stay connected and respond to the heightened need for resources due to the current pandemic.
For over 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. The Foundation funds basic needs, mentoring, enrichment, early education, and supports the district’s 18 Family-Community Resource Centers (FCRCs) and two mobile units. Donations allow VPS and FCRC staff to quickly mobilize resources and services for students and families in need, creating opportunities that cultivate and inspire student success
“Removing basic needs barriers and providing opportunities to increase parent engagement and enrichment helps students strengthen relationships and build their capacity to succeed and thrive, despite the many challenges they may face,” said Wheelock. “There are many stresses taking their toll on students – emotionally, physically, and academically. The current crisis heightens the need for increased capacity and resources to help stabilize vulnerable students and families.”
Continued support from business partners and donors plays a crucial role in funding basic needs for the district’s most vulnerable families. Make a donation today to help students and families in need.