Foundation for Vancouver Public Schools
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News Release
Students from Fruit Valley Community Learning Center, along with Principal Matt Fechter, celebrate after raising the most money per capita during Vancouver Public Schools' annual Student Chest Drive for the Foundation for VPS.
Students from Fruit Valley Community Learning Center, along with Principal Matt Fechter, celebrate after raising the most money per capita during Vancouver Public Schools' annual Student Chest Drive for the Foundation for VPS.
Vancouver Public Schools staff and students raise over $263,000 for the Foundation for VPS (Photo) - 12/19/17

Vancouver Public Schools' annual giving campaign raised a record $263,000 for the Foundation for VPS, with 50% percent of staff participating and student drives at all 37 district schools and programs.

Contributions made to the Annual Campaign allow the Foundation for VPS to fund students' most pressing needs. Donations fund basic needs support in every school, provide mentoring programs, support Family-Community Resource Center programming for families in need, and enrichment grants for innovative school projects.

Over 50% of the district's 24,000 students qualify for free and reduced-price lunches, a federal indicator of poverty. At some schools this figure is over 90%. During the last school year over 1,000 students experienced homelessness at some point and one in five students is chronically absent, indicating a need for social service assistance.

"The Foundation for VPS was started 29 years ago thanks to the generosity of teachers and staff. That tradition continues with teachers, staff, students and families joining together to build a brighter future for Vancouver students by participating in the annual campaign," said Nada Wheelock, executive director of the Foundation for VPS. "Together with support from our caring community, we ensure that all students come to school ready to learn, and that they have access to the experiences that help them thrive in school and out."

The Gateway to Adult Transition Education program had the highest per capita donations among district buildings, with all nine of their staff participating and additional matching funds from employers of spouses. The second highest donations from staff came from Vancouver School of Arts and Academics with 68% of their staff donating to the Foundation for VPS.

Under the direction of Principal Matthew Fechter and 5th grade teacher, Dave Warner, Fruit Valley Community Learning Center was a repeat winner of the Student Chest Drive raising $3.20 more per student than the second highest school, Franklin Elementary. Since 1987, Fruit Valley has won the Student Chest Drive more than any other elementary school. Schools hosted a variety of activities during the Student Chest Drive. Hough Elementary created a "cardboard arcade," charging admission to play on the cardboard replicas of popular arcade games. Skyview High School hosted a Trunk-or-Treat event, and along with Columbia River, donated proceeds from a volleyball game.

"The continued success of the VPS Annual Campaign is the result of the efforts and enthusiasm of the committed school staff who coordinate the fundraising activities at their schools," said Melinda Cannell, who manages the campaign at the district level. "This is a huge community effort by individuals who recognize the impact of the Foundation for VPS for our youth and want to help remove the barriers to learning that students face due to poverty."

Support from business partners also encouraged giving to the Foundation for VPS. iQ Credit Union sponsored the Foundation for VPS campaign, donating $20,000 in matching funds. Mark Matthias, owner of Beaches Restaurant and Bar and Warehouse '23, will host complimentary parties for staff donors at every school that met their fundraising goals. Other businesses made donations toward school campaigns or donated items to use as incentives.

If you are interested in contributing to the Foundation for VPS or would like more information, please call 360-313-4730 or visit,


The Foundation for Vancouver Public Schools is an independent, 501(c)3 educational non-profit corporation established in 1988 to support Vancouver Public Schools (VPS). Governed by a volunteer board of directors made up of business, community, and education leaders, the foundation creates opportunities to cultivate and inspire student success. As an educational non-profit entity, the foundation serves students at all 37 VPS schools and programs, providing direct aid to students facing learning barriers due to economic need, as well as financial assistance for learning enrichment and mentoring programs that cannot be funded by the school district. The Foundation for VPS is supported by donations from school employees, parents, students, community members, businesses and foundations.