The Vashon Island Community PTSA, part of the fabric of the island for decades, has joined the Vashon Schools Foundation, effective Aug. 27.
Beth Lindsay, president of the foundation for the last two years, said members of the two groups have talked for a long time about ways to collaborate and decided to move forward with the change this year. The merger will bring more coordinated benefits to students and families in the Vashon public school district, she said, and hopefully simplify things for donors, who have sometimes been confused about the roles of the foundation, PTSA and Partners in Education, (PIE), another nonprofit that fundraises for education.
“We hope this collaboration streamlines things for donors,” Lindsay said.
The PTSA has changed its name to FACE (Family and Community Engagement), part of a growing movement to better engage families in creating thriving public schools, Lindsay said. On Vashon, the group will continue to sponsor school activities, such as the Harvest Festival, Teacher Appreciation, Popcorn Fridays, Fun Run and other annual traditions, but will do that work now as part of the Vashon Schools Foundation. FACE has funds it can continue those activities, Lindsay noted, but how to fund traditional PTSA activities in a sustainable way is still being determined.
The foundation will continue to adhere to its mission of raising money to make up the difference between what the state provides and what the district needs to maintain excellence, Lindsay said. Since its inception a decade ago, the foundation has provided more than $2 million to the island’s public schools. This year, its fundraising goal is $212,000 spread among several targeted areas, including racial equity; social-emotional support programs; reading, writing and science instructional materials; StudentLink and a K-12 STEM and citizen science partnership.
Jenny Wegley, immediate past president of Vashon Island Community PTSA, will join the foundation board, bringing the number of foundation board members up to seven.
Both Wegley and Lindsay expressed enthusiasm for the change, which will also allow parents who join FACE to focus on activities and not on running the organization.
“As the FACE coordinator, I’m excited about this collaborative partnership,” Wegley said in a recent press release. “Together, we can develop and implement a shared vision of excellence for Vashon Island students.”
The hope is that the combined contributions of both organizations will mean a successful experience for everyone connected to the school district, Lindsay said.
“At the heart of it, we want to keep Vashon schools great places to learn, work and teach,” she added.