By News-Register staff • 

New gala to support school enrichment

“Schools: A Work of Heart,” a new gala fundraiser, will benefit art, science, reading and other programs in McMinnville public schools.

The McMinnville Education Foundation event on Saturday, Feb. 10, will feature a four-course dinner. Each course will be paired with wine from a winery, including J.L. Kiff, R. Stuart and Co., Ricochet Wine Co. and Hundred Suns.

Proceeds will be used to fund the foundation’s mini-grants for teachers, science experiences for students, the artist-in-residence program at elementary schools and Battle of the Books.

The event will run from 6 to 9 p.m. in The Bindery, 610 N.E. Fourth St., McMinnville. In addition to dinner, it will feature live and silent auctions.

A limited number of tickets are available at $150 each. For tickets and more information, go to

The McMinnville Education Foundation has been supporting enrichment in local schools for 25 years.

Twenty-seven local school backers created the foundation in 1999. They said they hoped to grow the endowment to $1 million in a few years through donations and fundraisers.

Proceeds are used for ongoing support of McMinnville public schools. The foundation provides annual “mini grants” for projects and equipment purchases suggested by teachers, educational experiences such as science field trips for each elementary grade, books for the Battle of the Books, and support of other programs.

“We feel strongly that students need the best education, not only for jobs and college, but to become life-long learners,” said Carol McCulley of Citizens for Good Education in a 1999 News-Register story.

Citizens for Good Education, which spearheaded the foundation, formed to help pass a bond measure for school construction and remodeling in the 1990s.
Another branch of CGE lobbied the Legislature for increased state funding.

Over the years, the McMinnville Education Foundation has awarded more than $400,000 in mini grants of $1,000 or less each. The money has paid for projects such as buying novels in Spanish, musical instruments for elementary classes and disposable cameras for journaling, field trips and science projects.

The 2023 list funded about $20,000 worth of projects, including:

Buel Elementary: “Unlocking the Code for Older Struggling Readers,” teacher Laurel Botes, $1,000; “Building Conceptual Understanding with Math Tools,” Laura Hyman, $399; “Sensory Exploration for Early Learners: Fostering Development through Sensory Bins,” Emma Velazquez, $990.

Memorial Elementary: “Mrs. Zeleny’s Musical Instruments,” Rachel Zeleny, $855.

Newby Elementary: “Ukuleles for Newby Elementary,” Sarah Barr, $981.

Wascher Elementary: “Enhancing Mathematical Learning Through Board Games,” Erin Allison, $483; “Learning by Playing with BRAINball,” Angela Yochum, $820.

Willamette Elementary: “Willamette World Tour,” Elindsey Greene, $1,000; “Willamette Elementary Courtyard Garden,” Megan Whitaker, $982.

Duniway Middle School: “Hands on Programming with MakeyMakeys,” Jacob Sanders, $990; “Escape Room Classroom Kit,” Megan Sandmann, $925; “Cadet Drumline,” Marc Dana, $1,000.

Patton Middle School: “The Night of the Notables,” Anna Mitchell, $990;”Light It Up, Greenhouse in the Winter,” Michele Reschly, $917.

McMinnville High School: “Portland Center Stage student matinee performances X2,” Dani Potter, $1,000; “Print Shop for CTP Vocational Classroom,” Ivan Marble, $952; “Folklorico Showcase: A Dance of Identity,” Jennifer Moranchel, $1,000; “Thriving in Healthy Relationships,” Cindy Stolp, $713; “Libraries Develop Global Citizens,” Lori McGreal, $1,000; “NY Times digital subscription,” Danielle Ross, $983; “Creating Opportunity,” Christine Garrison, $902.

Multiple schools: “Play to Grow Language Games,” Liz Knapp, $644.


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