North Thurston Education Foundation Pays $9,333.60 in Uncollected School Lunch Debt

On November 1, the North Thurston Education Foundation (NTEF) paid off school lunch debt for hundreds of North Thurston Public School District (NTPS) families.

A 2018 change in state law requires schools to provide meals to students even if their account is in the red. The law is design to stop what’s called “lunch shaming.”

NTEF donated $9,333.60 to NTPS to clear the balance accrued in uncollected debt for students who qualify for free or reduced meals. The National School Lunch and Breakfast Programs is sponsored by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and offers free and reduced-priced meals to qualifying students, but many students don’t apply in time to avoid a balance or the program doesn’t cover the full cost of the meal and therefore leaves a balance.

With the help and support of donors’ generous support and contributions, the North Thurston Education Foundation was able to pay the balance of this debt in full. “We are so pleased to be able to assist students in NTPS schools in this way, and to continue in our mission to remove barriers and enhance learning for our students,” said Mike Jones, Executive Director of NTEF.

North Thurston Education Foundation Announces 2nd Annual Learning Improvement Grant Showcase

The North Thurston Education Foundation (NTEF) has a robust Learning Improvement Grant (LIG) program that provides funds to teachers and staff in North Thurston Public Schools (NTPS) for classroom use. The LIG Committee selects recipients through a competitive application process. Funds help teachers increase student learning tied to district and state learning goals.


On January 29, 2020, NTEF invites teachers and staff who have received Learning Improvement Grants to showcase how they used the funds in their classroom at the 2nd Annual LIG Showcase. We also invite the community to attend and learn more about innovation in the classroom.


“Through post-grant reports we’ve read about how teachers have used the funds, but now we’ll get a more hands-on perspective of how teachers are using the funds to increase student learning. We believe a showcase approach will improve teacher collaboration and will inspire new ideas for classroom innovation,” said Mike Jones, NTEF Executive Director.


WHAT — North Thurston Education Foundation Learning Improvement Grant Showcase

WHEN — January 29, 2020 from 4 p.m. –to 6 p.m.

WHERE — Bower Learning Center, 4111 6th Ave NE, Lacey.

FOR MORE INFO — Contact Mike Jones, (360) 790-6548 or [email protected]

Welcome Back!

Summer is winding down. Teachers and students are heading back to classrooms, and a new school year is ahead of us. We begin the new season with renewed hope for a bright future for our students.

We are proud to play a role in creating an environment where every child has an opportunity to succeed. This year, contributions from parents, teachers, residents, and the business community will allow the Foundation to continue to invest in Student Assistance Grants, Learning Improvement Grants, and Scholarships.

Thank you to all who make our work possible. We’re looking forward to another fantastic year.

Click Here to Learn How You Can Help

Thank You For a Fun and Successful Fundraising Event!

Thank you for a successful inaugural Sacks of Fury Cornhole Tournament fundraiser. Many thanks to our hosts, sponsors and all those who helped to make the event a success: Country Financial, Gateway Rotary, Tart Cider, DJ Nate Bulley, emcee Martin McElliot, USMAC, Dutch Bros, and Troy and Kirby at Charlie’s Safari.

We appreciate your time and effort to benefit the students of North Thurston Public Schools!

Annual Luncheon October 18 at Lacey Community Center


WHAT: North Thurston Education Foundation Annual Luncheon
WHEN: Friday, October 18, 2019 11:30 a.m.- 1:00 p.m.
WHERE: Lacey Community Center, 6729 Pacific Ave SE Lacey, WA 98503
There is no charge to attend the luncheon, but a $100 donation is encouraged. All donations raised at the luncheon will go toward removing financial barriers and increasing student success. During the 2018-2019 school year, NTEF distributed $380,000, A NEW RECORD!

Sponsorship Opportunities are Available! Contact us for Details! Email Executive Director Mike Jones here.

Click Here to Register

The North Thurston Education Foundation’s Hearts Program Helps Connect Students

My position is a sensitive one; young people don’t like talking about the hardships in their life. Having an incentive program such as the North Thurston Education Foundation’s Hearts Program helps develop connections with students.

Over the 2018-19 school year, I used the gift cards from the Hearts Program to encourage attendance in school and as a reward to encourage follow through on assignments and participation in tutoring.

I worked with a student since last October who was chronically absent. She struggled with depression and was not connected to anyone -student or staff – at school. She was a sweet girl that wanted to work hard; she didn’t have anyone holding her accountable or even reaching out to her. With the help of the school counselor, we met with her to offer support, including walking shoes and a coat. After creating a foundation with her and her mother, and providing tools to help her get to school, we made a deal; I told her that we would meet once a week to discuss how things were going at home and in school. If she could make it to school at least three days next week, I told her I’d give her a $5 Dutch Bros. gift card. Every week we met, and she brightened up knowing someone cared about how she was doing, not just that she was going to school. We met weekly to check-in, and those weeks she couldn’t make it; she knew she didn’t earn the Dutch Bros. card yet we met and talked about school and what she needs to accomplish to achieve her goals. We met for the rest of the year, and I saw a definite change in her mood and drive to do what she needed to do.

Having this program to help build relationships with these students is invaluable. Most of the students I work with don’t have parents helping them remember things or to encourage them to power through; they only have themselves. I hope this program continues so we can reach more students that struggle with the little things.


Linda Torres
Student Support Navigator
North Thurston Public Schools

Looking for a Way to Give Back and Get Involved?

1. North Thurston Education Foundation is looking for Investment Committee members! If you are interested in serving please contact Executive Director, Mike Jones by email [email protected]

The investment committee meets four times per year and they are responsible for overseeing the Foundation’s investments. We estimate that this is a four-hour per year commitment.

2. We are looking for North Thurston Education Foundation School Ambassadors for the following North Thurston Public Schools:
Mountain View Elementary
Pleasant Glade Elementary
South Bay Elementary
Woodland Elementary

Ambassadors act as the go-between for the Foundation and the school.
Learn more by emailing NTEF Executive Director, Mike Jones at [email protected]

Featured in the photo above is School Ambassador for River Ridge High School, Doreen Berg.

North Thurston Education Foundation’s “Because of You” Annual Luncheon Set for Oct. 18

Please join the North Thurston Education Foundation (NTEF) for our annual luncheon, “Because of You”, on Friday, October 18 at 11:30 a.m. at the Lacey Community Center.

There is no charge to attend, but organizers request all attendees register in advance here. A minimum donation of $100 is encouraged. All donations raised at the luncheon will go toward the Foundation’s scholarship program, Student Assistance Grants and Learning Improvement Grants. In 2018, NTEF distributed close to $250,000.

There are sponsorship and volunteer opportunities available. For more information, please contact Mike Jones at (360) 790-6548 or [email protected]

Donation Request

The Sacks of Fury Cornhole Tournament is a new fundraiser for North Thurston Education Foundation (501c3). The purpose of this event is to raise funds to support students and their families who are homeless or are on the brink of homelessness.

Last year, with the help of your generous contributions, North Thurston Education Foundation assisted at least 37 students’ families with rental and utility assistance, which kept them from losing their housing. Because of your support, these families and their children have been able to stay in their homes and have not become another statistic in the homeless crisis.

Because of your support, there are 37+ students who are not sleeping in a car, shelter, tent or on someone’s sofa.

Last year, the Foundation was able to write 51 checks to cover partial rent payments or utility payments for families to keep them from becoming homeless. In addition, we allocated funds to assist families with sport registration fees, instruments for music classes, clothes and shoes for students in need, and additional supplies and food for both students and families.

We have a HUGE fundraising goal leading up to our August 17 Fundraising Cornhole Tournament, and we know we can do it with your help.

Our goal is to raise $50,000 for homeless students and their families in our district. Please consider a donation.

Even a small amount can greatly assist a family and help reduce homelessness and remove education barriers for students.

We hope you’ll consider making a donation or you’ll join a team and compete on August 17. For additional information on making a donation, becoming a sponsor or attending this event, please contact Mike Jones at [email protected] or (360) 790-6548.

Thank you for considering a donation for the 2019 Corn Hole Tournament.



Mike Jones, Executive Director
North Thurston Education Foundation


Blake Knoblauch, Board Chair
North Thurston Education Foundation


p.s. For a printable donation form, click here.