Donation Used to Purchase Socks and Clothing for Students in Need

North Thurston Education Foundation recently received a generous and anonymous $1,000 donation to fund the purchase of socks and clothing for students in need at North Thurston Public Schools. We worked with Brenda McAferty, the McKinney Vento Homeless/Foster Care Liaison at North Thurston Public Schools to make a shopping list, and then our very own Executive Director, Michael Jones went on a shopping spree to purchase the requested items. Clean & new socks, t-shirts, and sweatshirts will make a real difference in the lives of kids.

If you are interested in helping buy these items for our kids, please donate here:
If you would like to purchase socks or warm coats for North Thurston Public School students, please email Brenda at [email protected]


Homeless Backpacks Donation

Homeless Backpacks is a non-profit 501c3 corporation committed to ending homelessness by giving teens the help they need so they can focus on school and go on to graduate and become contributing citizens.

They provide food for the weekend to homeless teens in Thurston County. Some teens are in government-supported meal programs during the school day, but are on their own during the weekends. Each week, volunteers deliver food bags to local middle and high schools, as well as all schools in Yelm, Rainier, Tenino and Rochester.

Each bag has enough food for the weekend, including macaroni & cheese, tuna, ravioli, ramen noodles, chili, fruit cups, granola bars, oatmeal, juice boxes, chocolate milk and assorted snacks. Students go to the counselor or nurse’s office and obtain the food. Bags fit easily into backpacks so other students will not know they are part of our program. Each bag costs $8 – $9 per week to fill.

With your continued support, we were so pleased to be able to make a recent donation of $5,000 to the program. That’s enough money to feed 625 students for a week! We live in such an amazing community and are so thankful for your involvement and support to make gifts like this possible.

Learn more about our mission


Members of TwinStar Community Foundation with their generous donation to Homeless Backpacks that fed over 400 students! 

Sponsor a Senior  

Last Spring, we ran a “Sponsor a Senior” Campaign. The Timberline High School Blazers and the North Thurston Rams were challenged to see who would be able to get the most donations for the “Sponsor a Senior” Program. Thanks to all of our donors, we raised close to $10,000!

The Timberline Blazers made a last-minute comeback and passed the North Thurston Rams by one sponsor! This goes to show that every donation does matter!

North Thurston Principal Nick Greenwell was a good sport and showed up to the Blazer/Rams football game on October 19th wearing his opponent’s Timberline gear. He took a pie to the face from his good friend Paul Dean, Principal of Timberline High School!

Thanks to Nick and Paul for raising awareness for the North Thurston Education Foundation, and for having fun and being good sports!  We appreciate the support!



North Thurston Education Foundation Learning Improvement Grant Recipients 

Above: NTEF LIG recipients Laura Kraig and Katy Govan at Timberline High School.

Learning Improvement Grants, to educators for classroom use, have been given by the Foundation since 1996. Currently, several grants are selected through a competitive application process. Funds help teachers increase student learning tied to district and state learning goals. There are four opportunities a year to apply for grants, September 15, November 1, February 1, and May 1.

Educators use grant funds in a variety of ways; past uses include sending students to an educational writing conference, educational field trips, and the purchase of cameras for a Science/Art club. We will be featuring Learning Improvement Grant recipients in our next few newsletters. See these lucky recipients below, and thank you so much for your hard work in our North Thurston classrooms!

(*Recipient names listed under photos)

Kelsey Hackney at Meadows Elementary

Michael Koehler at Meadows Elementary 

Rose Aitken at Lacey Elementary

Board Member Spotlight:  Becky Carver, Branch Manager of Prime Lending  

1. How did you first get involved in NTEF?
I met NTEF’s Executive Director, Michael Jones, at a community event. I loved talking to him about the Foundation I asked him how I could get involved. I immediately began giving a monthly donation. I eventually asked if I could be on the board.
 2. What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?
I love to golf. I also love spending time with my dog, kids, family and husband. 
3. How do you believe the community can best support the work of NTEF?

Isn’t NTEF just amazing? I grew up with a lot of things in common with these kids. We struggled as a family. I think that being able to help kids with even basic needs like shoes, clothes, and food is an amazing gift.

McGimpsey Pantry Now Stocked 

McGimpsey Pantries, part of our  Student Assistance Program, provides funds for food and toiletries to all 22 North Thurston schools. The Pantries began in 2008 and also funds a special summer grant for Lacey Girls’ and Boys’ Club. The pantry is now stocked in the orchestra room 103 in the armoire on the back wall at Lakes Elementary school, containing $500 of food funded by NTEF for students who are hungry, missed breakfast or need extra resources.

We Love Thank You Notes! 

We love receiving thank you notes! Here’s one from Michael. Michael has diabetes, and with a Student Assistance Grant, we were able to purchase an iPod for him and his nurse.

Why an iPod? The school nurse uses the iPod to monitor Michael’s blood sugar levels and can adjust his levels as needed. This keeps him healthy so he can stay in school.

Student Assistance Grants are just one way North Thurston Education Foundation is helping students achieve academic success.

Grants Help Students Overcome Barriers to Academic Success – Often in Unexpected Ways…

Our Student Assistance Grants are designed to help students overcome obstacles that may prevent them from academic success. Barriers to academic achievement come in a variety of ways, and often start at home with personal or financial problems. We recently assisted a family in extreme financial need when we supplemented the cost of a head lice technician coming into their trailer to rid them of an ongoing infestation. They had tried other interventions and products and needed a permanent and professional solution.

In the past 29 years, the North Thurston Education Foundation has given more than $1,500,000 to students and schools in the North Thurston Public Schools to help young people overcome obstacles to their education. Each year hundreds of students are helped through the Foundation’s programs.

In 2017, the Foundation provided $247,189 in support to students in North Thurston Public schools through our major programs, a new high in Foundation history.

Board Member Spotlight: Dorene Berg, Marketing Consultant KXXO-Mixx 96.1


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

The strong connection NTEF has with meeting the needs for teachers and students successfully meets my volunteer goals. Local need is so great, I found the perfect reasoning for personal investment, so I emailed the foundation and responded to meeting with the Foundation Director, just last January.
 2. What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?
My husband and I have a real appreciation for music. We love supporting youth concerts, stage performances, and live band performances. We also travel to visit family and enjoy time camping. A lot of our free time is spent with our young grandchildren.
3. How do you believe the community can best support the work of NTEF?

Please donate! The need is so great. All students (K-12) benefit from the funding brought to our schools through the work of NTEF. This fills the gap of financial support necessary to maintain the well-rounded opportunities we want for all our youth and offers a true investment in the future of North Thurston students. 


Student Assistance Grants Help Families in Crisis

Recently, we received a call from a case manager at the Family Support Center (FSC). She was working with a family who had a student in our school district. The mother had received a “three-day pay or vacate notice” and was in need of immediate rental assistance to avoid eviction. The family had nowhere else to go if they lost housing. The Family Support Center was out of funding and reached out to us to ask if we were able to assist with the rent. We explained that we needed to be sure that the family had a plan for next month and the case manager assured us that she would be able to pay her rent from this point on.

One of our North Thurston Public Schools’ families lost their home recently due to some unfortunate circumstances. They were living in their car with their dad. He ended up, reluctantly, sending the children to stay with the grandparents in Oregon until he could find permanent housing. Recently, he found an apartment to rent in Lacey so his children could return home and live with him. He had saved enough for a deposit and last month’s rent, but was short $400 on the current month’s rent he needed in order to move in.

After receiving the request, NTEF granted the family $400 to get them into stable housing. When Brenda McAferty, North Thurston Public Schools McKinney Vento Homeless / Foster Care Liaison called the dad to let him know we could help him, he broke down and cried with sheer relief. That is the power of a community rallying around our vulnerable families.

Our Student Assistance Grant program is designed to help families and students overcome obstacles to their success in school. Homelessness is absolutely an obstacle to success in school, so in these cases we work to ensure the family keeps a home or can get into permanent housing. In addition to paying rent, we also were able to pay one water bill and two power bills.

Here’s how Student Assistance Grants work: Annual allocations are provided to every school in the district, and to a district-at-large fund, to be used for personal and school needs. We work with many local organizations to fulfill these grants.

Learn more about how you can help with future needs of families and students in the North Thurston community.