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.

North Thurston Education Foundation Awards $125,000 in Scholarships to 38 Students

The North Thurston Education Foundation has awarded scholarships with a total value of $125,000 to 38 graduating seniors from North Thurston Public Schools.

Recipients of the scholarships — which range in value from $2,000 to $12,000 —were selected on the basis of factors that included financial need, academic performance, school and community activities, personal essays, and letters of recommendation.

“The committee’s selection process was especially challenging this year due to the many quality applications we received.  We are pleased and proud to be able to award scholarships to 38 of these deserving students.  It is exciting to help these students begin their post-high school educations,” said Cathy Callahan who chaired the committee that reviewed applications and selected the scholarship recipients.

The following graduating seniors received this year’s awards:

North Thurston High School: Fasika Alemu, Jacquelyn DeCastro, Christina Floyd, Jasmin Fuentes, Alexandria Gregg, Dylan Harn, Michelle Hyland, Aubrey Martin, Tyler Powell, Daniela Rojas-Hernandez, Raihaanah Tahir and Shea Thomas.

Timberline High School: Sophia Davies-Ahmed, Kaitlynn Dean, Justin Kuhn, Lisa Lam, Chi Le, Abagail Moldenhauer, Steven Moreno, Valerie Mosier, Jessica Neal, Dakota Nelson, Lauren Schutt , Sana Surrency and Akemi Vuong.

 River Ridge High School:  Kendrick Echevarria, Layla Fuller, Matthew Jenkins, Brandon Kim, Jannell Manandic, Autumn Payne, Zyon Rodriguez, Valentina Salai, Paris Soots, Lisa-Marie Tangaro, Promise Vaitogi and Ryan Young.

South Sound High School:  Lahkaiah Dupervil

Sixteen of the scholarships are named after individuals in the community and funded by bequests from or donations on behalf of the persons for whom they are named. The remaining scholarships were funded solely by the Foundation’s annual fund-raising and by an unrestricted grant from the Dawkins Charitable Trust.

The scholarships recipients were celebrated at a June 10, 2019 reception honoring them and the Foundation’s donors. The reception provided an opportunity for students and donors to meet and visit.


Board Member Spotlight: Brenda McAferty North Thurston Public Schools McKinney-Vento Homeless/Foster Care Liaison

 1. How did you first get involved in NTEF?
I have been familiar with the North Thurston Education Foundation for several years. However, over the past five years as the McKinney-Vento Homeless Liaison, I have become more aware of the impact the foundation has on supporting the needs of our nearly 900 McKinney-Vento homeless students. Three years ago, I was approached by a member of the board and asked if I would be interested in being a member of this amazing group. How could I say no to such an important part of our community? I am now serving in my third year on the board.
2. What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?
I love camping, boating, and kayaking with my family, as well as visiting my two adorable grandchildren in Washington D.C. I also enjoy volunteering with my daughter as an overnight host at our local family shelter.

3. How do you believe the community can best support the work of NTEF?

There are several ways our community can support the work NTEF. One way is to become familiar with all the amazing things the foundation does to support our students, staff and schools; you can check us out on the web at One program that I am especially proud of is our “Sponsor a Senior” program which provides every graduating senior who qualifies under the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act with a cap & gown and a yearbook. Other ways to support NTEF include direct donations to the foundation, signing up for AmazonSmile or Fred Meyer Community Rewards program. Every little bit helps! 

Learning Improvement Grants

Our Learning Improvement Grants help teachers increase student learning tied to district and state learning goals.

*Pictured is Tiffany Bradford, with NTEF Executive Director Mike Jones. Tiffany, of Lakes Elementary, was awarded a Learning Improvement Grant for a Dictionary Knowledge Program.

The next deadline for submitting a Learning Grant application has been extended to May 15, 2019!

Click here to apply:

Prime Lending Spotlight

We thank Prime Lending Olympia for being a regular contributor toward the programs at NTEF. We are grateful for their continued involvement and support!

PrimeLending is a national mortgage lender that provides a wide array of loan products, including fixed- and adjustable-rate mortgages, FHA and VA loans, jumbo loans, refinancing options, renovation loans, and relocation programs.

They offer a variety of home loan programs for a range of credit scores and with various down payment options. Since 1986, they’ve helped over 500,000 homeowners buy a new home, fix up a current home or refinance. If you are in the market for a home loan, they can help you make the right decisions and have a rewarding experience along the way!

Learn More About Prime Lending Olympia 


North Thurston Education Foundation Donor Profile: Larry Blume

Larry Blume moved to Thurston County as a child when his father was stationed at Joint Base Lewis–McChord and has lived in the area ever since. He first heard about North Thurston Education Foundation from a colleague over 30 years ago when the organization began.

He fell out of touch with NTEF for awhile, but attended an annual meeting a few years ago and has since become a regular contributor. “I attended Thurston County public schools and graduated from North Thurston High School and it’s nice to be able to give back,” says Blume.

Blume was a Thurston County business owner for 46 years. He owned The Guardsman men’s clothing shop in Lacey until his retirement about 7 years ago.

“I think it’s important for people involved with NTEF and contributors to spread the word about their mission and increase awareness to get more of the community involved,” says Blume.

We thank Larry for his ongoing contributions to our mission!

North Thurston School Counselor Profile

Over the coming year, we will share profiles of North Thurston Public Schools’ counselors. Every day, the North Thurston Education Foundation partners with school counselors to make sure the immediate needs of our kids are met. We could not do our work without these amazing people!

Meet Debbie LaFever, Lacey Elementary School 

Debbie LaFever has 20 years of experience as a school counselor and has worked as Lacey Elementary’s school counselor for 16 years. Here’s what she has to say about her work with NTEF:

NTEF is a blessing to every school, including mine. There are so many times that students come to school in the morning with unmet needs and we begin a search for a resource to meet that need. You might have knowledge of Maslow’s Hierarchy of needs and know that basic needs of safety, shelter, food, sleep, and clothing must be met in order for a student to even begin to focus on learning.

Time and time again, the funds that NTEF provides the school help to meet our students’ needs. We have a first grader who has been living in a car or sleeping at the shelter who has been helped with clothing, parents who have been evicted with nowhere to go who have been helped with a motel room, families with resources so limited that they can’t afford to rent an instrument for their student who desperately wants to be in the band and adults who lose a job and can’t pay their rent that is due.

I have personally walked alongside students in heartbreaking circumstances over the years that have been lifted up by the help of the Foundation. I can’t thank you enough for understanding that these are not bad people, but people just like you and me, who have fallen on hard times and need a helping hand and the kindness of a stranger to help them get back on track. I recently supplied a pair of noise-canceling earphones from NTEF foundation funds to a young student who cried every day because she had to go to the Boys and Girls club after school. The noise made her dread going, but the earphones completely turned her mood around.

Sometimes, it can be the simplest thing that helps a child to feel like someone really does care. Each student is a treasure and I am honored to be able to distribute funds from the generous hearts of those who contribute to the Foundation to those who are in need. It makes me love my job, even more, when I can say: “Yes, we can help you with that.”

Thank you, Debbie, for your hard work and dedication to the students of North Thurston public schools!


Annual Luncheon – October 18, 2019 at the Lacey Community Center

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 the luncheon, but a $100 donation 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.

Our keynote speaker is Deanna East. Deanna is a McKinney Vento Student Navigator and she is part of the team that works with North Thurston Public Schools’ homeless students (nearly 1,000) and families and she will highlight the struggles our homeless and low-income students face every day.

Thank you to our 2018 Luncheon Sponsors! If you are interested in sponsoring the 2019 Luncheon, please contact Mike Jones at  (360) 790-6548 or [email protected]