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

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


Parents, Schools, and EEF: Powerful Partnerships

EEF is proud to partner with schools and part groups across the district to support their efforts to fundraise for specific needs for their schools, including staffing. EEF works with dozens of schools to make fundraising drives, jog-athons, and other events successful, and helps securely steward hundreds of thousands of dollars every year.

Our professionally-trained fundraising staff is here to support your school! Working with EEF minimizes financial risk for parent volunteers and gives you access to the support and benefits of a full-time 501(c)(3). Among the many services we can offer you are:

  • Banking services: We can receive and deposit your checks and cash through our partnership with Pacific Continental Band, and transfer the funds to your school account with 4J.
  • Provide you with a list of donors and contacts
  • Editorial support for your fundraising letters
  • Donation remittance envelopes
  • Online donation pages just for your school or event
  • Square credit-card services at your event

Please contact Dana Fleming, Fundraising Manager and Schools Liaison, to discuss how we can support your school.