Yakima Schools FoundationYakima Schools Foundation

School Supplies needed for
Yakima Area Children

Children of the Yakima School District

School Readiness includes having all the tools for success. That includes school supplies. Many of our students attend school without adequate school supplies: pencils, pens, paper and all the other items listed on the recommended list for their grade level. Many of the parents of students are struggling in these difficult economic times.

These kids need your help!

Any amount will be appreciated. Items can be delivered to the Yakima Schools Foundation office or you can make a donation through PayPal earmarked "School Supplies for Yakima Kids".

If you'd like to help, please call Amy Neal, (509) 457-0898

The mission of the Yakima Schools Foundation is to enhance educational programs offered within the Yakima School District No. 7 by raising money to fund immediate needs and by establishing and maintaining perpetual funding sources, as well as increasing community involvement in the Yakima Public Schools.

Who Are We?

The Yakima Schools Foundation, founded in 1991, is a grass roots community based organization working to expand and enhance learning opportunities for students attending school in the Yakima School District.   As a private nonprofit (501) (c) (3) organization the Foundation has the flexibility to seek, accept, invest and channel funds without the restrictions imposed on public school districts.

How Are We Funded?

The Yakima Schools Foundation raises funds from a variety of private sources. Occasionally people recognize a need in the schools for a piece of equipment, a special program or activity and give money to the YSF with a specific designation in mind. Other donors give undesignated funds, which the Board uses to meet a broad range of grant requests. Several supporters have established endowments for certain underfunded programs such as debate teams at Eisenhower and Davis, K-5 Fine Arts Education, and helping needy high school students with expenses associated with co-curricular activities.

The Foundation communicates needs and solicits funds through its newsletters and written appeals. Community participation has been encouraged through our signature events, the fall Apple Fest and the Celebrate Our Youth Breakfast.  Each generates $40,000 - $80,000 to fund operations and grants for educational programs. From time to time the YSF also receives memorial gifts given in celebration or honor of an individual.  Automatic payroll deductions from school district employees provide an increasingly significant source of funding.  Additionally, a significant amount of the executive director's time is spent seeking funding from local service clubs, local businesses, and other grant sources to help fund the requests submitted to the Foundation.

Gifts to the Foundation range from $5 to $100,000.  The number of donors has increased steadily from 8 in 1994 to over 1200 in 2010.

We are pleased to accept cash gifts, gifts of appreciated stock, endowment contributions, memorial gifts, corporate matching gifts and bequests and estate giving.

How Are Funds Used?

Funds raised by the Foundation allow the community to augment and enhance learning opportunities in Yakima School District classrooms.  Educators request special equipment, learning materials, supplies and program needs for their classrooms. Funding field trips that make it possible for students to see real life situations outside the classroom are another common request because District money for these is extremely limited.  Leadership camp scholarships, sports equipment, band instruments, choir uniforms and trips are other examples of typical requests.    

For each of the last several years grant proposals totaled $120-200,000, while grant awards total about $60-$150,000 per year.

Who Manages the Foundation?

Dedicated board members volunteered their time to manage the Foundation for the first few years, but two failed levy elections in 1998 served as a call to arms.  The Foundation hired Nancy Leahy as its first executive director.  During her eight-month tenure, revenue and disbursements tripled.  With her departure to Arizona Patty Dion was hired to continue the good work of the foundation.  After 12 years of dedicated service, Patty retired and passed the leadership to Amy Neal.  She manages a budget of approximately $200,000 and an endowment of approximately $500,000 from a small office.  The Foundation continues to have a hard working Board of Directors involved in every aspect of the organization, including fund raising, allocation, fiscal management, newsletter production, and promotion. 

The Board has had excellent leadership through the years by presidents Don Moen (1993-95), Walt Hefner (1995-97), Hamilton Licht (1997-2000), Paul Larson (2000-01), Jim Meyer (2001 to 2003), Sue Ford (2003 to 2006), Ryan Beckett (2006 to 2008), Joe Ketterer (2008-2010), Robert Aycock (2010-2011), and Aaron Arndt (2011-2012) and Moriet Miketa (2012-2013). Jim DeGrasse is the current Board President.

How Does the Foundation Impact Public Education in Yakima?

Since its formation the Foundation has contributed to the education process in several ways.  First, faculty, parents, students, or administrators with an educational program proposal may submit grant applications to the Foundation, which are reviewed initially by the Allocations Committee and then by the Board of Directors. If the project promotes the learning goals of the Yakima School District and if funds are available, a grant is awarded. Secondly, the Foundation accepts gifts of books, school room supplies, clothing or other materials.  Finally, the executive director serves as a full time advocate for public education, building partnerships with businesses and service organizations throughout Yakima, in the course of seeking funding for requests submitted by educators. These last two roles of the Foundation have been described as “value added”, meaning there are benefits the Foundation provides to the schools by virtue of functioning as a visible advocate for public education.

What Is the Long Term Goal of the Foundation?

The goal of the Foundation is to affect the education process proactively by directing resources to programs that enrich the education opportunities beyond the basics provided by the State Legislature.  This requires sizeable resources and committed donors.  The experience gained and the momentum generated in the beginning years of operation give us reason to believe that YSF is playing a significant role in enhancing and enriching the educational experience for many students.

We welcome your partnership in building
opportunities for Yakima ’s promising young students.


July 2014 Newsletter

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September 7, 2014


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Without You, Students Would Not.

Be Educated. . . By reading and discussing books about leadership

Be Inspired. . . By hearing a published poet share her work

Be Healthy. . .By daily walking and running with classmates

Be Challenged. . .By participating in accelerated reading programs

Be Creative. . .By integrating art with math and science

It’s Simple. . .The Yakima Schools Foundation only funds what is not in the current budget & what helps students grow and learn.  All programs inspire, educate and enhance the current curriculum.

Your donation truly makes a difference.

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