Lake Washington Schools Foundation hits fundraising record

Published by
Rithwik Garapati

The Lake Washington Schools Foundation achieved a massive round of fundraising during its annual benefit event in April to support local students. 

The foundation provides aid to students in the Lake Washington School District (LWSD) and their families.

On April 28, the foundation hosted its 16th annual “Be the Bridge” virtual spring fundraiser. Through multiple sponsors, individual donors, and matching pool donors, the foundation raised more than $200,000. 

“That’s an extraordinary figure for a virtual event,” said Katy Philips, the foundation’s executive director. 

This year’s fundraiser focused on the many initiatives that the Lake Washington Schools Foundation has funded over the past few years to “foster diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts in the district,” according to Philips. 

Kai Vanderlip, a junior at Tesla STEM High School, founded the Japanese Incarceration Literature for Libraries project, which aims to spread awareness about the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II so that young people can spot and speak up about intolerance today. 

The foundation’s support allowed Vanderlip to purchase a collection of children’s literature about Japanese internment for over 14,000 students across 33 elementary schools in the district.

Liliana Medina, 42, a parent, received funding for Sistema Escolar USA, a program that brings culturally-relevant communications in the form of weekly video newsletters to Latino families.

The Inclusive Libraries project is also being supported by the foundation through a five-year grant. This funding allows school libraries to expand their collection of books to better reflect the diversity of the district.

“It’s vital that we read about traditions, cultures and experiences of people and places across the world to help the students that are currently in our district feel included and connected,“ said Nancy Colburn, the president of the foundation’s board of trustees.

Apart from diversity and inclusion activities, the foundation also commits aid to low income students. 

It funded more than 30,000 meals for LWSD students who suffered from food insecurity during the 2020 to 2021 school year, and retired $6,079 in lunch debt for students in need. 

Donate to the Lake Washington Schools Foundation here

Rithwik Garapati

Rithwik Garapati attends Eastlake High School and is in the class of 2022. He is an education reporter for the Sammamish Independent.

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