Board Member Spotlight:


DeAndra Williams, CSP
Business Developer, American Workforce Group, Inc. 

1. How did you first get involved with North Thurston Education Foundation (NTEF)?
 I had been talking to Blake [NTEF Board President] about ways that both my company and I could get more involved in the community and he told me about NTEF and that he thought I should meet with Michael to learn more. I met with Michael and was eager to become involved. American Workforce Group was able to be involved immediately and we held a shoe and sock drive for the month of September.
 2. What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?
 I enjoy spending time with family and friends, camping, reading, wine tasting and the Seahawks! 

3. How do you believe the community can best support the work of NTEF?
Beyond getting involved, learning more about what the foundation does and the length it goes to for the kids. Education of the community will lead to more involvement. 



Thank you for your Generous Donation!


What is $150? To Ed Kunkel Jr., it was a compassionate, generous donation to the North Thurston Education Foundation. To a Mom who came up $150 short on her rent last month, it was the difference between overcoming a shortfall and being evicted. Ed will never meet this family, but they were so thankful that the Foundation–with Ed’s donation–completed their rent payment.

Donations often make significant differences in the lives of North Thurston Public Schools’ students and their families. Thank you, Ed, and our other generous donors. Because of You, another family was housed and saved from eviction.

Learn more about how you can help below:

Learn More


Lacey Firefighters Charity

Each year Lacey Firefighters Charity in partnership with North Thurston Public Schools, brings the magic of Christmas to 50 families who don’t have financial means to purchase holiday gifts.

Here are THREE ways to become an Elf to make Christmas count for these families:

1. Pick up a tag from the Giving Trees at any of our Lacey Fire Stations, with gift request for an adopted family: Each Tag has a generic description of an item to purchase for child or family. Please take what you can to help. (Gift value $35)

2. Make a cash donation at our Station Headquarters (M-F 8-5): Recommended donation of $35, but any amount is helpful.

3. Shop the gift registry at Target:

Please return the gifts UN-wrapped with tags attached and placed under the trees by Friday 12/14 5pm or deliver them to the ST-31 Tree: 1231 Franz St SE, Lacey, WA 98503
Phone: (360) 491-2410
THE EVENT ITSELF: On Sunday, Dec 16, from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m., the families will be welcomed by Lacey Fire Elves, have treats, make crafts, listen to music, and enjoy a photo and gifts from Santa.

Donate Wrapping paper or NEW with TAGS small/medium stuffed animals.

Music For All

Are you or someone you know eligible for free and reduced-priced meals, through the USDA School Meals Programs? If so, the Olympia Symphony Orchestra would like to offer FREE CONCERT TICKETS for all members of your household through their “Music for All” program. Contact their office by phone, email, or social media message. No application or personal information is required.

(Sponsored by Columbia Bank)

[email protected]

Board Member Spotlight: Beth Brown, CPA, MAcc at Northwest Accounting & Consulting LLC

1. How did you first get involved in NTEF?
I met Mike Jones, (NTEF’s Executive Director) at an event where I learned they needed some help with their QuickBooks. I fell in love with NTEF’s mission immediately and was compelled to volunteer my CPA services so Mike could focus on what really mattered. I have been working with Mike for over a year now and became a board member a few months after that. I love this organization and the hope it gives our community.
 2. What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?
In my spare time I love to mountain bike, spend time with my family and take my cat on long walks.
3. How do you believe the community can best support the work of NTEF?

The best way our community can support the work of the NTEF is through continued donations. Without that we simply cannot do what is needed to support our community. It’s For The Kids! 

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