Schools Foundation hits the phones again for Mercer Island students

The Mercer Island Schools Foundation began its annual fall Phon-A-Thon fundraiser Tuesday, Nov. 12, with volunteers calling for donations to support Mercer Island Schools.

"Our Phon-A-Thon is our one-time event when we can reach out to all of our donors," said MISF executive director Penny Yantis.

The Phon-A-Thon focuses on funding classroom priorities such as new curriculum and text materials, school improvement plans, professional development for teachers and student enrichment and development. It does not fund technology, which comes from the school levy. Of this year's targeted goal to raise $440,800, Yantis estimated $300,000 has already been received. Last year, more than $520,000 was raised to support Mercer Island Schools, which accounted for 32 percent of revenue for MISF.

Yantis said there are 125 volunteers over two nights to make phone calls. Volunteers include board members, parents, community leaders, school teachers, administrators and students.

"We're seeing more participation by community members, which is greatly appreciated," Yantis said. "The big change we're seeing now is the awareness of the pure fact that people are busy and don't answer their phones, which is frustrating to volunteers. We stress that voice mails are important."

Since it began in 1981, when the Phon-A-Thon drew $3,000, MISF has raised over $16 million for Mercer Island Schools.

"Part of reason people live here is because Mercer Island schools are great and parents want their kids to have that education," Yantis said. "It is a community-wide event. We couldn't do what we do without the Mercer Island community."

The Phon-A-Thon is one of two fundraising campaigns by the MISF. The second campaign, the Community & Business Leaders Breakfast in April, focuses on teacher retention and the class size initiative, or trying to make class size as low as possible.


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