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Endowment is the ultimate goal for school foundation

Last week at the dinner table my daughter, a student at Lake Oswego High School, talked about how much she likes her “A” days, when she has both biology and chemistry.

She gave her teachers the credit. She says they move at the right pace, balance labs and lectures and keep it fun, interesting and somehow relevant to high school life. We looked back at her years in Lake Oswego schools and marveled at how all of her math and science teachers ranged from very good to inspiring. What luck.Linda Ganzini

But, of course, it wasn’t really luck. It was by enormous effort, commitment and design that the Lake Oswego School District has focused on recruiting and retaining the best teachers possible. And the Lake Oswego School District Foundation has partnered with the district to make that possible. Each year during our annual campaign the foundation raises between $1.5 and $2.3 million that is expended entirely the following year for teachers’ salaries. As a result, class sizes are smaller, programs are richer and our student opportunities are greater. Teachers across Oregon compete to work in our district, even from districts with higher salaries.

Over time the foundation’s grand hope is to augment, possibly replace, our annual campaign with an endowment. An endowment would provide a long-term stable source of funding for Lake Oswego schools, acknowledging that our district will always be a public-private partnership. Unlike the annual campaign, donations to the endowment are not spent the following year but invested, and the income generated returns back to support our teachers every year — theoretically forever.

The Lake Oswego School District Foundation’s endowment is managed by the venerable and respected Oregon Community Foundation. Already we are seeing results. Thanks to more than $1 million in gifts to the endowment in the last few years, the income from the endowment is now the largest single contributor to the annual campaign.

There are several other advantages to the endowment. The annual campaign can only accept cash. The endowment, however, can accept cash, securities, equities and property. Donations can be in the form of estate plans, bequests, beneficiary designations from life insurance policies or retirement plans. Gifts can be structured to substantially reduce taxes and capital gains.

The endowment may appeal to those who want their donations to be part of a long-term vision and sustainable educational future. Imagine assuring the best public education in Oregon here in Lake Oswego not just next year but next decade, even your entire lifetime. If this vision appeals to you, contact Mary Puskas (foundation director) at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 503-534-2106.

Linda Ganzini, Lake Oswego, is the past president of the Lake Oswego School District Foundation.