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Alcott fundraiser brings in $57K for building improvements and more
For several years, building renovations at Louisa May Alcott Elementary School have been put on hold as the school has been on a Lake Washington School District (LWSD) list to be updated and modernized.
It was not practical to put in the time and effort if the results would be torn down within a few years. But recently, the school — located in unincorporated King County outside of Redmond — was removed from the list. Now, Principal Kimo Spray said they will be able to invest in the school and make improvements as they are on a modernization cycle of about 10 years.
And after a recent, school-wide fundraising effort that brought in tens of thousands of dollars, Alcott will be able to begin a number of projects on its long to-do list. Some of the work set to be done includes building a traverse (rock-climbing) wall for the gym, updating the school’s sound system and bringing in new chairs.
Through Orange Ruler — a two-week, team-focused fundraising program — the Alcott community raised a gross total of $57,133. This number surpassed the school’s goal to raise $40,000. From the gross total, the school receives 65 percent, bringing the net total to $37,136.45.
“It’s been a lot of fun,” Spray said about the school’s efforts.
With a focus on fundraising teams (each classroom is a team) with prizes for top teams, he said it encourages healthy competition among students and gets them excited to help their school.
“It’s a strong community being built here at Alcott,” he added.
About 80 percent of the school participated in the fundraiser.
In addition to getting students involved in the fundraising, Orange Ruler’s online donation drive format — there is no door-to-door work — also minimizes the work for volunteers and doesn’t cut into teachers’ classroom time too much.
This is the first year the school has fundraised through Orange Ruler, and instructional assistant Betsy Metzger said while it may not have brought in the most money the school has ever seen — one year, the school raised about $60,000 to renovate the playground — it definitely raised the most funds for the amount of effort required.
“This (fundraiser) had the most per capita contribution,” she said.
Metzger has been part of the Alcott community for 16 years, both as a PTSA member whose four children went through the school as well as a member of the staff. She said students enjoyed it because of the prizes as well as the fitness element (Orange Ruler puts on a fun run as part of the program) and teachers liked it because it was simple.
“It involved the whole school,” Metzger said. “The whole school got behind this one.”
She added that they are lucky to have such a caring community and the funds will go toward something that will benefit everyone.
Alcott PTSA President Erika Winters said the school has done more traditional fundraisers such as auctions, but those take a lot of effort from volunteers. In addition, time is not taken away from the classroom for students to create projects for the auction.
Spray, who is in his fifth year at Alcott, agreed, saying the difference between Orange Ruler and previous fundraisers is like night and day. He said it is a matter of 50 volunteer hours, versus 1,000.