EEF Annual {Virtual} Gala Update

On April 27, we hosted A Brighter Future: our first virtual event, which replaced our annual in-person gala. While we were nervous about the unknowns of hosting an event in a completely different way, we were confident that the community would still show up to support public education in Eugene, and you did!  To date, we have raised over $87,000, far surpassing our goal of $75,000!  

Throughout the live stream (which was so well emceed by Celeste Edman), we shared stories about how we helped make learning happen during a very challenging year.  We will be sharing those videos again, over the upcoming months, via emails and social media posts.  A link to the video featuring 4J Superintendent Cydney Vandercar’s gala address is included below.  

Also included below is what I refer to as EEF’s Honor Roll: lists of the organizations and individuals who helped us to surpass our event goal.  There is still time to add your name to the list!  Follow this link to help support a brighter future for 4J students.  Your donations help us to fill in the gaps through our annual grants, providing opportunities that keep students engaged and excited about learning.  We shine brighter together! 


Dana Fleming
Executive Director

EEF Grants Over $120,000 to 4J Schools and District-Wide Programs

The Eugene Education Foundation’s Board of Directors is excited to announce the distribution of more than $120,000 in grants to schools and district programs in Eugene School District 4J throughout the 2020-2021 school year.

Since 1993, with the support of the community, EEF’s annual grants have brought much-needed enrichment and access to 4J schools.  During this year of distance learning, which presented many new challenges, EEF sought to address the unique needs arising in 4J by allowing for teachers and staff to apply for grants in two cycles: one in the fall of 2020, and one in January 2021. Additionally, a third application option was implemented for urgent needs, to be granted out quickly, and on a rolling basis, throughout the school year for unique requests that would support distance learning and student success in line with EEF’s priorities of equity, access, and enrichment.

Grant proposals submitted this year represented a broad spectrum of subject areas, including projects in literacy, science, math, career technical education, technology, arts, and music.  Examples of grants awarded include: Sheldon High School’s Social Justice Novels for Grade 10, which provides a copy of This is My America by local author Kim Johnson to 10th graders; Madison Middle School’s Building History, which uses LEGOs in an immersive Social Studies simulation of a variety of government types across the globe; and Twin Oaks Elementary’s Increasing Rigor and Supporting Literacy, which addresses reading gaps in upper elementary grades with new curriculum tailored to underserved students. Urgent Need Grants included: Edison Elementary’s Silence is Bliss, which provided students in unstable housing situations with noise-canceling headphones and dividers so they could better concentrate on their schoolwork, and Churchill High School’s Mechanics and Geometric/Physical Optic Take-Home Kits, which enabled students to perform hands-on science lessons in tandem with their teacher during distance learning.

In addition to awarding grants to schools, Eugene Education Foundation also funded five district-wide grants, including a grant that will pilot mental health support groups for both students and parents, a grant that allows students online access to high-interest books for all grade levels, and a grant that helped to facilitate PE in distance learning.

For the past 27 years, EEF has been the Foundation for 4J by generating support from generous donors, corporate sponsors, school/parent partnerships, as well as through an annual dinner event. This year, their event will be a virtual gala held on April 27th at 5:30 pm. To attend, donate, or find more information about A Brighter Future: EEF’s annual virtual gala, please visit: to learn more about this exciting event benefitting all 4J students.

Support from organizations like SELCO Community Credit Union, Thermo Fisher Scientific, Pape’, Bigfoot Beverages, and Rowell Brokaw Architects, along with many other businesses and individuals, make it possible for EEF to support 4J with annual grants.

Full List of 2020-2021 Grants Awarded by EEF

Eugene Education Foundation Announces Executive Director

The Board of Directors of the Eugene Education Foundation are excited to announce Dana Fleming as the organization’s Executive Director. Fleming brings incredible expertise, a passion for public education, and a deep knowledge of the organization. She joined EEF in 2015, most recently serving as Interim Executive Director. 

            In her new capacity as Executive Director, Fleming will provide leadership, direction, and vision for the Foundation, identifying private funding and strategic partnerships that will support EEF’s efforts to make a difference for every child and every school in the School District 4J. In a statement, Craig Smith, President of the EEF Board of Directors, praised Dana’s commitment and leadership: “Dana has been an incredible asset to EEF and to our community. Her passion and capacity will have a tremendously positive impact on our community’s contributions to our public schools.”

            Fleming has a strong connection to public education as a parent of four children who attended public schools, a teacher, a daughter of educators, and a product of public schools. Upon relocating to Oregon with her family in 2012, Fleming began to volunteer and advocate for 4J schools, serving as the head of fundraising for Adams Elementary School’s Parent Teacher Organization and Coordinator of PAR, Roosevelt Middle School’s parent organization. She is currently an active member of South Eugene High School’s Parent Council and is a member of the Strategy Team for the local chapter of Stand for Children. She also serves the community through her board positions on the Lane County Cultural Coalition and ArtCity Eugene. 

            Fleming earned a degree in Art History from Birmingham-Southern College in her home state of Alabama. She is excited to share her commitment to community engagement and her strong desire to make educational access and opportunities widely available to all students. 

            Please join the community in welcoming Fleming at Eugene Education Foundation’s Annual Dinner, on Tuesday, March 5, 5:30-8:00 pm, at the Ford Alumni Center on the University of Oregon campus.  For more information, or to purchase tickets to the Annual Dinner, visit EEF’s website at, or call 541.790.7744. 


When EEF has the opportunity to throw support behind an excellent program that will impact EVERY SINGLE student in Eugene School District 4J, we get really excited. That’s why I’m thrilled to share that this year, because of your support of EEF, we’ve had the opportunity to fund an incredible math program called DreamBox for every single kindergarten through 5th grade student in 4J!

We’re featuring an interview between EEF Executive Director Rebecca Sprinson and 4J K-12 Curriculum Administrator for Math and Science Sue Wilson, who is going to share why DreamBox is so fantastic.

Rebecca Sprinson: How has EEF helped expand access to DreamBox?

Sue Wilson: We are excited to share that every 4J K-5 student now has access to DreamBox both in school and at home. We were/are also usingDreamBox to support middle and high school intervention; however, the thought is that if we can better support students to not develop gaps during K-5 grades, we will decrease the need for intervention in the upper grades.  Additionally 6 of 8 middle schools have purchased seats, with Cal Young, Roosevelt, and Monroe providing seats for all 6th graders. Without EEF’s $22,500 in funding for DreamBox, we would not have been able to spread the program to all kindergarten through 5th grade classes!

RS: How does DreamBox work?

SW: DreamBox is an adaptive computer platform that provides online, interactive math lessons/tasks that are aligned to standards.  The lessons are student centered, and focused on building visual conceptual understanding, key components of our elementary math adoption.  Based on student data (success/non-success with the various lessons), it  responds by providing lessons at individual rates and levels.  It provides a game-like environment with age appropriate gameification.   Additionally, it is available entirely in both English and Spanish.  Beyond the adaptive engine, teachers are also able to assign lessons that are aligned to classroom content and based on their previous DreamBox performance. The platform encourages productive struggle (hard enough to challenge, but not so hard they shut down) and is responsive to their answers.  For this reason, adults are encouraged not to provide answers, but instead to help clarify directions and/or ask questions that ask students to describe their thinking.  In  just 3 15-20 min sessions a week, students are able to make considerable growth with their mathematics understanding.

RS: Why is DreamBox the best program for our students?

SW: This platform is standards aligned AND builds conceptual understanding through use of multiple representations and math manipulatives.  The data and lessons support teachers to pull small groups to support in class differentiation, even with a large number of students.  The program identifies gaps and adapts immediately, provides teachers with tools for setting and monitoring goals, and makes math accessible for all students.  In addition, TAG students and families have found that this product meets their needs as well, as it adapts to the current rate and level of students and provides lessons in further grade levels for each standard, rather than having to complete all of current grade before getting access to advanced concepts.

RS: Thanks, Sue!

SW: Thank you so much to all EEF donors who made this possible!

You Are the Rising Tide for Public Education!

0IMG_1190Wow. Wow. Wow! That’s all we can say.

On March 6, EEF donors helped raise over $100,000 for EEF’s enrichment programs and grants for every single school in Eugene School District 4J. It is only because of your generosity that we are able to make such a huge difference in the educational experience of our students. Thank you!

Many thanks to our wonderful speakers: Jeff Geiger, Dr. Gustavo Balderas, Mike Johnson, Peggy Blair, and student Marissa Rinen.

If you attended the event and made a gift, your donation receipt will come in a separate email, and we’ll send you a link to view photos as well!. Please let us know if you have any questions!

Thank you again for joining the rising tide for public education.

If you can’t read, you can’t do.

IMG_1201“When I couldn’t read well, school was a waste of time.” –4J middle schooler

When kids aren’t reading at grade level, every part of their educational experience suffers. The effects of low literacy can harm students’ abilities to follow instructions, incorporate vocabulary, understand math and science problems, and to believe in their own abilities to learn and grow as students.

When kids can’t read, they can’t participate. They feel ashamed and lose focus. They often act out.

When kids can’t read, they can’t do.

For Oregon students, the need for improved literacy is real. Fewer than 40% of families read at home to their children. In Lane County, 50-80% of all children entering kindergarten do not have the early literacy skills they need. More and more often, our kids are starting behind, and when they start behind, they often stay behind.

Thanks to our donors, EEF invested more than $100,000 in literacy efforts across School District 4J during the past two years.

  • Funding pre-kindergarten literacy through the Kids in Transition to School pre-kindergarten readiness program, which corrects literacy deficits before kids enter school.
  • Investing in technology that allows students to practice reading at their own paces.
  • Encouraging reading at home, by funding programs that provide engaging books for kids to bring home—sometimes providing the first book that students have owned themselves.
  • Investing in Oregon Battle of the Books across 4J, which makes reading a fun social event for middle schoolers.
  • Focusing on students who have fallen behind through funding literacy interventions and individualized support.

Students who fall behind in their reading skills not only suffer in class, but they also miss out on enrichment that relies on verbal fluency. From robotics and engineering to theatre and music, if you can’t read, you can’t do.

EEF continuously works to close the gap that widens as students fall behind, but we cannot do it without our donors.  Without you, these programs would go unfunded.  

Each year, we receive more funding requests than we can fill.

Your gift to EEF ripples throughout students’ experiences in school and life.

  • A $10,000 gift doubles the number of middle schoolers to whom we can offer needed literacy interventions.
  • A $2,000 gift invests in evidence-based at-home reading incentive programs for an entire elementary school for a year.
  • A $500 gift buys Oregon Battle of the Books supplies for a whole school.
  • A $100 gift provides 40 elementary students with access to an effective literacy intervention program.

Our young readers turn into informed voters and creative thinkers. They become collaborators, designers and second-language learners. Most importantly, they become people who believe in their capacities to learn and grow.

If you can read, you can do.

 EEF’s grants also help ignite learning for all students through projects and opportunities that provide enrichment beyond the traditional course offerings. For example, EEF funded Madison Middle School’s medieval simulation game, allowing students to place themselves in a historical moment and write and read together to make important political decisions. Opportunities like this make learning fun and promote creativity and engagement.

Thank you for your continued investment in your local public schools and education foundation.


Rebecca signiture

Rebecca Sprinson
Executive Director