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].

Clean Kids Program

North Thurston Education Foundation is proud to support Clean Kids. The Clean Kids Project was the vision of the congregation at St. Mark Lutheran Church. Laundry is just one of the many worries of the children and youth identified as being homeless in North Thurston Public Schools.

This often leaves children attending school with dirty clothes, which in turn affects attendance, self-confidence, and ultimately, grades. With volunteer hours, retrofitted space, equipment donated by McKinney’s Appliances and a $7,500 grant from the North Thurston Education Foundation, the Clean Kids vision became a reality. By mid-September 2016, the space at St. Mark’s Lutheran Church was up and running. Once a family has a voucher for services, they can contact St. Mark to make an appointment to use the laundry facilities.

Clean Kids needs your help! Consider donating a product from their wish list or donating funds through NTEF. 

If you donate product, please review their wish list as the machines only use specific types of detergents, etc. Please drop off donations at St. Mark Lutheran Church2109 College St. SE, Lacey, WA 98503, Monday through Thursday. Clean Kids Coordinators encourage donors to call the church office before stopping by to make sure someone is there, 360-491-2052.


For doing laundry:
HE liquid laundry soap (Costco sells Arm and Hammer for around $10)
HE liquid fabric softener
White vinegar (gallon size)
33-gallon drawstring garbage bags
Paper towels
Liquid Oxyclean
Odo Ban disinfectant (for deodorizing urine odors) available at Home Depot
Lysol or Clorox wipes
Bounce dryer sheets
New clean rags

For our guests and children onsite:
Bottled water
Individually wrapped nutritional snacks
Microwave popcorn
Individual juices

For a downloadable list of supplies requested, click HERE

Board Member Spotlight: Bill Williams Vice President, North Thurston Education Foundation Board of Trustees

1.) How did you first get involved in NTEF?

I was on the North Thurston School Board when the Foundation was created and recognized that it could be a great potential benefit for our students, especially those from low-income families. As a school board member I monitored the Foundation’s growth, and when my last school board term ended I hoped that by serving on the Foundation’s board I could help it continue to grow and help more students.

While the growth has been impressive, as the district has grown in student population, the number of students the Foundation can benefit has also grown, and the Foundation still has great potential to meet that need.


 2. What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?
I enjoy reading, going to movies and watching TV (mostly sports). We care for our daughter’s dog Hank and I also enjoy my daily walks with him. And of course spending time with my four grandchildren, two in San Francisco and two in Olympia. I also enjoy my other volunteer work, including service on the board of directors of the Capital Region Educational Service District 113 board and the board of the Association of Washington School Principals.  
3. How do you believe the community can best support the work of NTEF?

Of course, contributing regularly helps the Foundation continue to grow, and endowing a scholarship or other long term source creates a legacy that will benefit children well into the future.

More important, however, is for people to be aware of the need and to get involved, either by volunteering on a committee or the board and by spreading the word about the Foundation among their friends, neighbors, work colleagues and others. The North Thurston community is a supportive and caring community and I am confident that by working together we can continue to do great things for kids. 

Learning Improvement Grants Can Make a Real Difference in the Classroom!

Our Learning Improvement Grants help teachers increase student learning tied to district and state learning goals. Last year, Jeff Wilson of Meadows Elementary was awarded a $1,500 grant to use for “Innovative Teaching & Learning: Robotics/Coding” for his students! Way to go, Jeff!

Learn more about our LIG grants:

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

Jeff Wilson of Meadows Elementary School 

Please join us for the Learning Improvement Grant Showcase

The North Thurston Education Foundation (NTEF) has a robust Learning Improvement Grant (LIG) program that provides funds to teachers 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 April 30, 2019, teachers who have received Learning Improvement Grants are invited to showcase how they used the funds in their classroom and the community is invited 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 — April 30, 2019 at, 5 p.m.
WHERE — Bower Learning Center, 4111 6th Ave NE, Lacey.
FOR MORE INFO — Contact Mike Jones, (360) 790-6548 or [email protected]

North Thurston Education Foundation Announces Scholarship Applications are now OPEN!

The North Thurston Education Foundation (NTEF) has a robust scholarship program that provides funds for North Thurston Public Schools (NTPS) graduates who will attend post-secondary schools, including vocational or trade schools, colleges or universities.

NTEF awarded 36 scholarships in 2018 valued at approximately $120,000. The scholarship program includes designated named endowed scholarships and Foundation funded scholarships. Each scholarship has a minimum value of $2,000 and each NTPS high school will receive at least one scholarship. Some scholarships are renewable from year to year. Completed applications must be submitted to the student’s school (NTPS only) counseling/career center or mailed to NTEF on or before the April 12 deadline.

WHAT — North Thurston Education Foundation Scholarships Now Open
WHEN — Opened January 1, 2019, and will close on April 12, 2019
WHERE Click here.
FOR MORE INFO — Contact Cathy Callahan, Chair of NTEF’s Scholarship Committee at 360-888-3175