$1.5 million raised for Mercer Island public schools

The 2010 Mercer Island Schools Foundation annual report was mailed to Island residents this past week. The report, for the year ending June 30, outlines the unprecedented amount of money that the nonprofit has pulled together in the past year. The foundation brought in nearly $1.5 million from individual contributions, the annual fundraising breakfast, grants and more. In 2009, the foundation brought in just over $1 million.

The effort, fueled by the increasing alarm over the inadequacy of state funding for schools, led to an additional push for funding through what organizers named “Bridge the Gap.” Under the banner of this initiative, the organization raised $700,000 of the total. The monies have been applied to pay for teachers to reduce class sizes across grade levels, adding 10 new teachers this past term.

In the report, co-presidents CC Crenshaw and Betsy Robertson outlined the goals for the coming year. The foundation hopes to have collected or have pledges for contributions of $500 per child in the foundation’s annual phone-a-thon held last week and will ask for the same amount again next spring at its annual “Breakfast of Champions” event.

The report summarizes the need for funding by stating: “...we must change our thinking and realize that our public schools are depending on us more than ever, and we all must make a long-term financial commitment.”

The report also goes on to say that participation in fundraising efforts has increased on the Island this past year, stating that more than 50 percent of Island families with students in school or 1,500 people donated to the effort.

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