Issaquah Schools Foundation makes last pitch in annual phoneathon

November 15, 2011

By Tom Corrigan

Launched in late summer, the Issaquah Schools Foundation’s “All in for Kids” campaign is heading towards the finish line of its $250,000 goal and will launch its last big push Nov. 16, 17 and 19.

Those dates will mark the ISF’s annual phone drive.

Lynn Juniel, development manager for ISF, said the 2011 campaign benefiting the Issaquah School District had brought in about 68 percent of its financial goal, or roughly $170,000, as of Nov. 11.

In the past, campaigns have reached about 25 percent of the foundation’s target audience, namely district households. The organization will recalculate that figure at the end of the current campaign. Juniel added ISF set for itself some fairly high participation goals.

“We would love to reach 50 percent,” Juniel said, later noting both the Bellevue and Mercer Island school foundations have financial support from at least half of the families in their districts.

Regarding the overall campaign, Juniel and others said the annual fund campaign’s final numbers depend in no small part on the success of the phone bank. For the final leg of the campaign, the ISF, adult volunteers and student volunteers from district high and middle schools take over the district administration building.

Juniel and others said high school students man phone lines, calling local households and asking for donations. They also will use cell phones to complete calls. Middle school students sort of act as runners between the ISF staff and adult and student volunteers.

“What is funny is walking in and seeing a high school kid sitting at (Superintendent) Steve Rasmussen’s desk,” ISF Executive Director Robin Callahan said.

She added students have a bit of a race to see who grabs the superintendent’s spot.

Both Juniel and Callahan warned that, during the phone-a-thon, residents might receive calls from numbers they don’t recognize, especially since students will be using cell phones. They asked that residents answer the phone and be polite to students, even if there is no donation in the offing.

When they do get donations, Callahan said students can get very excited. Volunteers ring cowbells and otherwise let them know their efforts are appreciated.

Juniel said she hopes parents and residents realize any donation is welcome. She said her office recently received a $15 pledge from a single mother who stated in a note that was all she could afford. But Juniel applauded the mom for helping take charge of her child’s education.

“That’s what this campaign is really all about,” she said.

ISF supports a number of programs in the district, from classroom grants to after-school homework labs. Last spring, the foundation took in roughly $438,000 to help fund a new science curriculum – everything from textbooks to test tubes – for the district’s elementary schools.

Learn more at www.issaquahschoolsfoundation.org.

Tom Corrigan: 392-6434, ext. 241, or tcorrigan@isspress.com. Comment at www.issaquahpress.com.

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