In a world where education funding often falls short, the Bellevue Schools Foundation (BSF) has been a pillar of support for the Bellevue School District. With a legacy dating back to 1979, the foundation strives to provide the best learning opportunities for all students in the district. Under the leadership of Executive Director Juliet Buder, the BSF has been actively building connections with the community. The pandemic forced a reevaluation of strategies and events, but the foundation persevered, determined to continue its vital work.
One of BSF's flagship events is the annual Fall Block Party, now in its second year, scheduled for October 14th at Downtown Bellevue Park. This gathering brings together the community with attractions such as animals, games, magicians, and even food trucks from local favorites like Dick's Drive-in. The event not only raises awareness but also serves as a fundraising opportunity through corporate sponsorships.
Another major event on BSF's calendar is the Spring for Schools gala. In the past, it was a luncheon but has now transformed into an evening cocktail event that showcases the teachers and students who have directly benefited from BSF funding, allowing attendees to witness firsthand the impact of their support. It's an opportunity to celebrate and appreciate the incredible work happening in Bellevue schools.
Beyond these events, BSF actively seeks grants from corporations and foundations, leveraging these partnerships to secure additional resources for the district. The foundation also relies on individual donors who contribute through events, direct asks, end-of-year giving, and planned giving. Their ambitious fundraising goal for the year is $1.4 million, although historically, they have raised as much as $1.7 million, ensuring that the level of support provided to the schools is determined by the generosity of the community.
BSF directs its efforts towards two primary areas: filling in gaps in state funding and promoting innovation. Despite the misconception that Bellevue is a community solely comprised of affluence, the reality is that one in five students qualifies for free and reduced lunch, a number that continues to grow. To address this, BSF provides funding for the Early Learning tuition program, which covers the full-day preschool needs of low-income families. Additionally, the foundation steps in to support various programs and initiatives when public funding falls short, allowing students to access educational opportunities that would otherwise be out of reach.
Innovation is another key focus. The foundation actively supports pilot programs that have the potential to become permanent fixtures in the district's budget. For example, they played a pivotal role in launching a software program that aids college admissions and spearheaded a mental health program to provide on-site counseling for students. The foundation invested $180,000 in training mental health counselors, ensuring that Bellevue schools have the necessary resources to address the social and emotional well-being of their students comprehensively.
To support the foundation and its impactful work, individuals can visit their website or send donations by mail. The foundation is dedicated to collaboration and works closely with other nonprofits, such as Bellevue Lifespring and the Boys & Girls Club, to ensure a holistic approach to supporting the community's needs. Eastside Pathways provides a platform for these organizations to come together, fostering collaboration and synergy.
The Bellevue Schools Foundation is a steadfast advocate for academic and social/emotional learning in the Bellevue School District. Through their tireless efforts, they bridge the gap in funding, providing opportunities for students that might otherwise be out of reach. By supporting BSF, individuals contribute to a thriving educational ecosystem that nurtures the potential of every student and paves the way for a brighter future. To learn more, or to donate, visit bellevueschoolsfoundation.org.