Fundraiser brings Lake Oswego Schools Foundation hundreds of thousands of dollars

Eileen Christopher handles attendance and bookkeeping for student accounts at Lake Oswego Junior High, greeting kids and parents who visit the main office. And Christopher’s three children all attended Lakeridge High, so she’s got one foot on both sides of Oswego Lake.Christopher

She also was on the executive board of the OSEA union’s local chapter for 10 years, and there, she said she learned the inner workings of the district and how important the Lake Oswego Schools Foundation’s phonathon fundraiser is. She is in her 14th year of volunteering for the annual event, which raises hundreds of thousands of dollars for the foundation each year.Patinkin

“Our mission in raising our children is to be ready for the future and to have that excellence in education that is the goal of this district,” said Christopher, a Lake Oswegan since 1973. “This foundation is vitally important: That’s why I do what I do.”

Volunteers such as Christopher soon will be calling community members during the phonathon, slated for the evenings of Tuesday, Wednesday, April 24 and April 29. More helpers are needed to assist with the phonathon, which raised $300,000 for the last campaign. About $1.1 million has been pledged or given so far for this year’s campaign, which has a goal of $2 million.

The foundation is a nonprofit that gathered $1.7 million in its campaign last fiscal year, and 94 percent went to support the salaries of 20 teachers. The funds are allocated as such: 52 percent to elementary school students, 28 percent to high schools and 20 percent to middle schools.

The foundation is seeking 120 volunteers, with 30 working each day of the phonathon, and as of Tuesday, 62 had registered. This year, the event will have a more electronic bent, with volunteers also emailing or texting community members to seek donations. Campaign updates are posted on Facebook and Twitter.

Volunteers were making calls previously this year, but this is the last big push, said Sara Patinkin, the foundation’s executive director.

Callers will ring up potential donors “as many times as possible until they say ‘yes I’m going to give or no,”’ Patinkin said.

Phonathon volunteers are treated to door prizes such as gift cards to local businesses — coffee shops and restaurants. Pizza, soda and snacks are available for all who lend a hand. And, Columbia Sportswear donated passes to its employee store for all phonathon volunteers.

Christopher said the door prizes and the joy of receiving a big donation lends a festive environment to the phonathon.

It creates “camaraderie with people when you are seeing them win things and celebrate with each other,” she said.

Learn more

For more information, visit To volunteer for the phonathon, contact Sara Patinkin at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 503-534-2106.

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