MI Schools Foundation breakfast doubles 2008 funds

The Mercer Island School District got a little extra help in closing the projected $2.1 million budget deficit after the sixth annual Mercer Island Schools Foundation breakfast.

The Foundation raised over $423,000 at the breakfast on April 28, twice the record amount raised in 2008. According to the Foundation, an attendance record was also set with 520 people stopping by the high school on Tuesday morning for breakfast. The event, emceed by King 5 news anchor Jean Enersen, a Mercer Island High School graduate, featured guest speaker Gary Plano, superintendent of the district.

“Donation-matching angels and close cooperation with our PTAs were key to smashing our fundraising records,” said Denise Hopkins, co-president of the Foundation board, in a press release. “And we are delighted to give a portion of the funds raised to Bailey Gatzert Elementary School in Seattle, where there are significantly fewer community resources.”

Money raised will go to helping the district deal with the budget deficit for next year, as well as working toward implementing the 2020 vision throughout Island schools. The Foundation had a goal of raising $732,000 for the district in 2008-09, part of which was received during the annual October Phone-a-thon event. It raised $400,000, leaving approximately $200,000 left to be made up before the end of the school year. Anything raised above and beyond that amount goes toward helping the district fill in gaps left from the budget deficit.

Penny Yantis, executive director for the Foundation, said that — heading into the breakfast — the Foundation was down by 1 percent, compared to previous years. She added that since the breakfast, donations have continued to pour in, with checks and online contributions.

“This year, we had an extra challenge with the down economy and the sharp budget cuts from Olympia,” said Yantis. “Our supporters responded tremendously during these tough times, helping us weather the storm while providing a path for an even greater future for our students, staff and community.”

For more information about the Mercer Island Schools Foundation, visit or call MISF at (206) 275-2550.

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