Invest in Mercer Island Schools Foundation | Island Forum

  • Tuesday, November 15, 2016 12:16pm
  • Opinion

By Christina Riffle and Cliff Sharples, co-presidents of the Mercer Island Schools Foundation

Do you believe one person can change the world?

Consider someone who becomes the president of a college, inspiring new opportunities for degrees in health and nursing. What about a physician’s assistant who created a foundation and nonprofit dedicated to improving the lives of women and children in Nepal? Or a PhD working to eliminate the gender gap in STEM fields in the United States? Think about a cardiologist and epidemiologist whose research has illuminated the connection between lifestyle and heart disease, now heading up a prestigious university igniting countless students to do their own research.

These are all Mercer Island High School graduates who benefited from our community’s dedication to educational excellence. We call them Pathfinders, whose achievements, strength of character and citizenship inspire and challenge today’s youth.

More now than ever before, your investment in the next generation of Pathfinders is needed. As we all pick ourselves up from a tumultuous, tectonic shift in our country’s governance, regardless of left or right, we can all agree that there are massive challenges to address so that as one country, we can unite and build a better world for the generations to come.

This coming Tuesday and Wednesday evening the Mercer Island Schools Foundation will hold its annual Phone-A-Thon “ALL IN FOR KIDS!” Phones will be ringing across the Island as friends call friends and neighbors asking for their continued support for students and their teachers.

Your foundation provides the investment vehicle for our school district to foster great education in four ways. First, we connect student to their futures by teaching them to become engaged citizens who give back to their community, inspire others and become leaders. Second, we advance academic achievement by incubating, evaluating and replicating the highest performing strategies to help children reach their full potential.

Third, we support the district’s vision of personalized learning, where teachers can create opportunities to address both strengths and weaknesses that students bring to the learning environment. And finally, we promote professional development, recognizing that our amazing teachers are the No. 1 factor of a student’s academic success.

The Mercer Island Schools Foundation is the avenue by which the entire community can contribute. The long partnership of donors, volunteers, teachers, staff, administrators and businesses coming together to invest in developing every Mercer Island student’s full potential has produced the best public educational experience in the state of Washington. When you invest in our community and its Mercer Island schools, you ensure the success of every Mercer Island student.

By continuing to build and grow our investment in what is working and by embracing creativity and innovation, our community provides leverage for the Mercer Island School District to go far beyond where we are already. One person can change the world — and that person is you. Invest in the next generation of exceptional people to make our world a better place. Donate to the Mercer Island Schools Foundation today.

Cliff Sharples and Christina Riffle are co-presidents of the Mercer Island Schools Foundation. To donate via mail, send to P.O. Box 1243, Mercer Island, WA 98040 or donate online at

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