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Foundation may be heading into record territory

Generosity has found a home in Lake Oswego.

The annual Lake Oswego School District Foundation's donation drive - including last week's Phone-a-thon - has generated close to a record amount of money for the district.

With a heady goal of $2.2 million, the foundation had raised about $1.85 million as of Wednesday, said Mary Puskas, foundation director. Last year's campaign brought in slightly more than $1.9 million, which is the benchmark.

'We're just very grateful to the community for its support and I think we're going to get very close to our goal,' she said.

Campaign co-chair Mary Solares was equally positive.

'We are very pleased. More and more families are understanding the foundation. The calling was easier this year,' she said.

Solares also noted that she hears positive things about the campaign from people in other school districts.

She also is hearing positive comments from parents with students in district schools.

'I just heard a couple of mothers say that for the first time they are really seeing a change' in classrooms because of the money the foundation has already been able to channel to the district.

While the Phone-a-thon portion of the drive officially ended last Thursday, Puskas said 'wrap-up calls' are continuing - and will probably into May - as the number of calls to be made is so large.

Puskas, who has led the foundation effort since 1993, noted that 'the model of the campaign is so different now.'

While the phone calls from volunteers to residents and businesses are important, so too are other fronts on the campaign.

'The campaign and Phone-a-thon blend together,' Puskas said.

'There has just been an enormous amount of work done by a lot of volunteers,' she noted.

Bill Korach, superintendent of the school district, was pleased with the foundation's efforts when he addressed the school board Monday evening.

'I've been told that the foundation will likely meet its goal of $2.2 million, which is outstanding. It's really phenomenal,' he said.

Puskas said a significant percentage of Lake Oswego residents financially support the campaign, particularly families with students, former students and long-time residents.

Additionally, businesses in Lake Oswego have been generous.

'This year, we've had tremendous support from the business community,' said Puskas.

She also was pleased with the Community Work Day (see related story on page A25) that brought 270 Lake Oswego High School students out raising funds for the district last Friday.

'It was a wonderful effort by so many students,' said Puskas, singling out Cindy Schubert, LOHS assistant principal, for helping to launch the program.

Anyone who would like to contribute to the campaign is invited to contact the foundation office at 503-534-2302.

- Reporter Matthew Sherman assisted with this story.