WL-WV Education Foundation sells Christmas trees to retain teachers

Do fir trees and schoolchildren have anything in common?

In this school district, the answer is, “yes.” And the tie that binds them is the West Linn-Wilsonville Education Foundation, which is running a Christmas tree stand for one day only. All proceeds from tree sales will be included in the foundation’s annual donation to the West Linn-Wilsonville School District, to be used to retain teaching positions for the next school year.

by: PAMPLIN MEDIA GROUP: VERN UYETAKE - Dr. Dana Yip is teaming with the West Linn-Wilsonville Education Foundation in a new fundraiser, offering Christmas trees for sale at two schools Dec. 7.The trees will be available from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Dec. 7 at Stafford Primary School, 19875 SW Stafford Road in West Linn, and at Boones Ferry Primary School, 11495 SW Wilsonville Road in Wilsonville.

Preorders are encouraged and forms are available through the foundation’s website at Orders must be received by Dec. 3.

Two types of fir trees, noble and Nordman, will be available, sizes range between 5 and 7 feet, priced at $30 and $40 per tree depending on size. Cash and checks will be accepted.

Although the foundation is hoping to make money by selling trees, the primary goal is not financial, according to the foundation’s secretary, Patrick Minor, who is the instructional coordinator at Stafford.

“Right now our goal is about increasing participation and making connections,” he said. “If we sell 100 trees, that’s maybe 100 people who didn’t have a connection with the foundation before. Or maybe 50 that didn’t, and now they do.”

“There are many ways to join with us in investing in children,” the foundation’s president, Jay Puppo, said. “Some people prefer to write checks, some attend our events and others volunteer.”

“People need to get a tree anyway, and they can support the foundation” while doing so, Minor said.

by: PAMPLIN MEDIA GROUP: VERN UYETAKE - From left, Patrick Minor, Dr. Dana Yip and Jay Puppo are teaming up to raise money for the West Linn-Wilsonville Education Foundation.The trees were donated to the foundation by a West Linn children’s dentist, Dr. Dana Yip, who has an office in the Robinwood area. Yip’s oldest son is a second-grader at Stafford.

“He started at Stafford in first grade, and I have a practice treating children in West Linn. So we have a pulse of the community and talk to parents about their experience,” Yip said.

Many parents choose private school over public school for their children, and Yip also considered his options before choosing Stafford.

“We ended up giving West Linn schools a chance,” he said. “So far, so good. We think it’s a great education.”

In addition to his dental practice, Yip owns a tree farm off Stafford Road, about a mile away from his son’s school.

“I love being a weekend farmer,” he said. “I’ve been growing these trees for the last eight years and about a third of them are ready.

“I really don’t want to be in the business of selling trees,” he said. “But I’d love to have some benefit to the community. ... My business is really treating children’s teeth. I just want to bring awareness with our patients about the foundation. Letting people know about the foundation through Christmas trees is great.”

Yip said he chose to work with the foundation because it’s an organization that directly supports many of his patients. And he is excited, too, to grow awareness of his practice. That’s something that the foundation’s board of directors appreciates.

“I’m excited to have business owners like Dr. Yip see the value of investing in children and wanting to partner with us to raise more money for schools,” Puppo said. “I feel great to have Dr. Yip want to invest in children in this way. I think Dr. Yip sets an example for all of us small-business owners to say, ‘What resources do I have that I can use to invest in children?’ Our board would love to talk with anyone about creative ways we can increase our investment in children.”

Minor singled out two Stafford parents, Dave Adams and Ivana Tence, for their support of the foundation’s tree sales. They both are leaders with Cub Scout Pack 223, which is Stafford based. Cub Scouts will be working at Stafford during the tree sale, assisting customers with choosing and loading trees.

“Dave and Ivana have been a great help working to gather volunteers and lending ideas to help this project,” Minor said.

Because this is a new endeavor for both the foundation and for Dr. Yip, no one is quite sure how many trees will sell.

“The foundation can have 10 trees,” Yip said. “They can have 500 trees. It doesn’t matter to me. But I only have 5,000. Everybody needs to buy a tree somewhere. Might as well benefit someone.”

For more information about the foundation, visit

Kate Hoots can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and 503-636-1281, ext. 112. Follow her on Twitter, @CommuniKater.

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