Schools foundation marks 20 years of improving literacy – 1 book at a time

By Marci Larsen | Nov 07, 2012

The Mukilteo Schools Foundation will hold its annual fundraising breakfast next week.

It’s an event that I look forward to each year, not only because it provides an opportunity to hear from a well-known local author, but also because it is so heartwarming to spent time with community members and local business leaders who support our schools.

The foundation is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year. The organization was created in 1992 by a group of civic-minded citizens who, according to the mission statement they adopted, felt it was important to support the students and educators of the school district by “encouraging and rewarding excellence, supporting innovation and creativity, and enhancing community involvement and commitment to education.”

Tom Unger was selected to be the president, Rick Passovoy was treasurer, and Ron Woldeit was secretary. Other board members were Ron Edlin, Gail Gretencort, Andy Hopson, Sage Johns and Bob Leach.

That group of founding members set in motion an organization that continues to do similar work today.

The foundation provides scholarships to graduating seniors and a long-standing project has been its $500 grants to teachers for classroom projects.

Last year, the foundation provided funding for projects such as a lunchtime running activity at an elementary school, a field trip to explore tide pools, and tests that help direct students in career path decisions.

Several years ago, the foundation chose to focus on improving literacy. That led to the purchase of fiction and non-fiction books for fourth and fifth grade classrooms, social studies books for middle schools, an online database for secondary school libraries, and writing curriculum packets for elementary teachers.

During the past couple of years, the foundation has been purchasing reading material on science topics for elementary students.

With its focus on literacy, the foundation has established a tradition of featuring a local author at the fundraising breakfast.

Last year’s presentation was made by Erik Larson, the author of bestselling books such as “In the Garden of Beasts” and “The Devil in the White City.” Other recent speakers have included Garth Stein, Robert Dugoni, Patrick Jennings and Jane Porter.

This year, we are excited to hear from Kent Hartman, who has written a book titled “The Wrecking Crew.”

We are going to hear the inside scoop about a small group of studio musicians, nicknamed The Wrecking Crew, who actually played the music on songs recorded by The Beach Boys, the Mamas and the Papas, Sonny & Cher, the Byrds, the 5th Dimension, and many others.

While that is going to be fun, the main point of the breakfast is to raise money for the foundation’s important projects.

All of us associated with the foundation are very grateful to the business sponsors who have helped make that possible:

The Boeing Co., Klein Honda, Paragon Manufacturing, Union Bank, Frontier Communications, Rubatino Refuse Removal, Matt Martin and State Farm Insurance, Siemens, DLR Group, Northwest Duty Free, McKinstry, BCE Engineers, Everett Community College, Edmonds Community College, TransACT, James Russell CPA, Sodexo, Mukilteo Beacon, Third Place Books and Mukilteo Chocolates.

The event also couldn’t happen without the hard-working members of the foundation board.

Thirteen community members, led by President Nicole McGowan and immediate past-president Marjean Taubeneck, have been busy for much of the past year getting everything ready for the big event. Your work is greatly appreciated.

You can get more information about the Foundation at

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