About

The Friends of Laurelhurst Foundation was formed in 1998 by a group of parents, alumni and neighbors of Laurelhurst Elementary School who were dedicated to supporting our community by funding an endowment to enrich the educational experience of every Laurelhurst Elementary School student.

Now, as then, the goal is to reach an initial threshold of $1 million, which will generate predictable funding each year with a 4-5% annual distribution goal. The fund’s current value is over $800,000, and more than $140,000 has been given back to the school since the Foundation’s inception. The primary vehicle for the Foundation’s fundraising is the 545 Campaign, in which each family in the school commits to donating $500 a year for five years.

Every fall, the Foundation Board receives requests for spending from the teachers and the PTA and decides how best to distribute funds to the school via our grant-request process. By taking both a short- and long-term view, the Foundation is able to support today’s students while investing in tomorrow’s.

Our philosophy

We believe our kids of the future, our neighborhood of tomorrow, and our school for the next generation can benefit from the planning and generosity of those who have gone before them. We have all benefitted from the entrepreneurs and visionaries in our lives: People who decided to make a difference for others and not just for themselves. That is what the Foundation is all about.  We all know people who went to our school in the ’60s, ’70s, ’80s or even ’90s, went out into the world, and returned to Laurelhurst as adults to raise their families. Many of their children and grandchildren now walk the same elementary school halls their parents once did. Our school is the centerpiece of our vibrant community and will continue to be its crown jewel for decades to come.

Why a foundation? Because caring for our school, our children, and our community requires attention not just to today’s needs, but tomorrow’s as well. We try to think like the University of Washington with its $2 billion endowment foundation. Or like Harvard University, which has an endowment of more than $25 billion. By comparison, our modest goal is clearcut and achievable. We are raising a $1 million endowment fund, one that can return up to $50,000 a year to our school and hence the community for decades to come.

By contrast, our school’s financial platform is a simple, straightforward savings account. Our amazing PTA does a fantastic job every year of raising money for that account and spending it thoughtfully and judiciously on the immediate needs of the school. The Friends of Laurelhurst Foundation applauds and supports their efforts. PTA fundraising is hard work and it is essential to support the needs of current students. The Foundation builds on this financial platform and expands its scope, supporting current students while looking ahead to the needs of future generations. We hope you will partner with us, share our vision, and support our Foundation: Our School’s Savings Account for Tomorrow!

Our endowment

We know saving is hard.  And we know our society does not like to delay gratification. It would have been great if the Foundation had started 30 years ago and we could all be reaping its benefits now. But that is not the reality. So as a Board we have decided to distribute a modest amount each year for the benefit of today’s students while preserving the bulk of the principal in anticipation of hitting that $1 million goal as expeditiously as possible. We are supporting the PTA and today’s children while focusing the majority of our efforts on our long-term vision of creating something that will benefit future generations.

Historical grants

Since the Foundation’s inception 15 years ago, we have granted back $135,000 in support of Laurelhurst Elementary programs and initiatives. Our goal is to distribute 4-5% of the money we raise each year back to the school. And we hope to be giving closer to $50,000 every year once we get the endowment to our $1 million goal.

Here are some of the ways current students are already benefitting from the Foundation’s donations:

  • 2016 Leveled reading books, Math materials and Readers Workshop curriculum kits
  • 2015 Leveled reading books for grades 1 & 2
  • 2015 Reading assessment materials for grades 3-5
  • 2014 Library & assembly furniture
  • 2014 Reading & writing materials
  • 2013 Books & writing programs
  • 2012 Library books
  • 2011 Third-grade book club
  • 2010 MacBook laptops
  • 2009 Electronic white boards
  • 2008 Laptop computers
  • 2007 Playground renovation
  • 2006 Electronic white boards
  • 2005 Computer lab

The value the Foundation brings to our children, our school, and our community is clear. Please join us by participating in our 545 Campaign. Your donation will get us to our goal and ensure the ongoing vitality of Laurelhurst Elementary School for all our community’s children, now and in the future.