Guest Column

November 6, 2012

By Camille Vaska

Go ‘All in for Kids’ to help students succeed

You have no doubt heard about the Issaquah Schools Foundation’s All in for Kids Annual Fund Campaign. Since August, we have reminded the community of our annual fundraiser via postcards, emails, letters, honk and waves, a billboard and even a Battle of the Fans promotion at the Issaquah vs. Skyline football game.

Why so much energy exerted to encourage the community to go “all in”? Because the revenue generated during the campaign is used to do amazing things for our students and schools. It can help transform struggling students into confident learners, equip teachers with skills to reach and engage students of all learning styles, create interest in critical STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) subjects by connecting classroom learning to real life applications, and expand students capacity for innovation and creativity through support of music and arts programs.

We ask the community to go “all in” because state funding alone can’t provide the comprehensive 21st-century education our students deserve and the marketplace demands. Because we are approached by parents, teachers and staff with ideas — both foundational and inspirational — that could affect positive change for our students but can’t be pursued because of lack of funding. And because a robust partnership among parents, schools, residents and businesses has become the best and most immediate way to combat the effects of chronic underfunding of education.

Finally, we ask because we know you will respond. Last fall, donors contributed $325,000 to the All in for Kids Annual Fund Campaign and $1.1 million to the foundation during the course of the 2011-12 year. Yet, these donors represented just 20 percent of district families. Imagine the difference we could make if even 30 percent or 40 percent of our community contributed.

So, when a nervous high school student calls your home on the evening of Nov. 13 or Nov. 15, please answer. Listen patiently to his or her plea, and then join the 1,200 donors who have already turned their dedication and donations into experience and opportunities for our students. Go “all in” with the knowledge that your gift will change lives — maybe even the life of the student to whom you’re speaking.

Camille Vaska is the chairwoman of the Issaquah Schools Foundation’s All in for Kids Annual Fund Campaign.

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