Community Members Gather to Celebrate 30th Anniversary of Foundation for VPS
Foundation for Vancouver Public Schools Announces Record High Pledge of $500,000
More than 500 community members gathered at the Foundation for Vancouver Public Schools (VPS) annual luncheon, celebrating the organization’s 30th anniversary and raising 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.
“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 go 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.”
Guests enjoyed an Asian-fusion 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, and the 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 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 mentoring programs, and other services that support students and education.