The Orcas Island Educational Foundation, otherwise called OIEF, has been a pillar in our community for a long time. An organization that was created by our community and progressive parents, OIEF has been helping provide needed funding to support our school system for over thirty years now. As OIEF’s mission statement explains, “The Foundation was formed to respond to the increasingly widespread interest in promoting excellence in our Public School system. With the full support of the School Board and administration, we will provide a means for the public and private sectors to work together, sharing a bond of mutual responsibility for the education of our youth. Our independent status will enable us to move with a speed and flexibility to enhance the educational offerings of the Orcas Public Schools without additional expenditures of local tax monies.” Over the years, OIEF has made several significant contributions ranging from helping save the school from financial crisis by raising over 250,000 dollars in 2008, to supporting school art and music programs, to providing scholarships to graduating seniors.
This past year, OIEF has continued to contribute to our school system in significant ways. Through fundraising and grants, OIEF has provided funding for the 6th grade class’ week-long Nature Bridge field trip to the Olympic Peninsula, helped provide supplies so every child can have an art class with a local artist for 16 weeks in grades K-6, helped the high school with a new drama program, helped to fund a STEM Guitar-Building class in the high school, bought books for “reading circles” in the middle school, payed for much needed supplies for the school library, and provided significant funding to the school’s new debate team and newspaper club. The student body, teachers, and administrators at Orcas Island High School are incredibly thankful for all of the work that OIEF has done over the years, and continues to do even now. OIEF is an excellent way to give back to the community, and is always looking for new volunteers and donations.