Principal’s Emergency Checkbook Fund


The Principal’s Emergency Checkbook Fund (PECF) was started in 2008 by Congressman Denny Heck and his wife, Paula, Craig Ottavelli, and other outstanding community members affiliated with the OSDEF. The PECF fills an important resource gap for principals and educators. Each school in the district is provided with funds to help quickly meet emergent basic needs for students, with a minimal amount of paperwork. The PECF resources remove common barriers for low-income students maximizing their potential.

How can we expect students to be able to focus on learning when they are distracted by not having the basics covered? 33% of the student population in the Olympia School District is living in poverty and over 500 students are currently homeless. Teachers and principals are often the first to identify when a student has needs. Giving them a resource to quickly address those needs has proven invaluable. The funds have been used for clothing, hearing aids, housing, transportation, food, fees for school activities, school supplies, and much more. Something as simple as a new pair of shoes can boost confidence leading to higher grades and attendance or a pair of glasses for student, who can now succeed in the classroom and participate in athletic opportunities as a result. Great latitude is given to school principals, ensuring that they feel comfortable accessing these resources.

Past PECF Breakfasts

The 2015 PECF Breakfast:

Over 225 parents, community leaders and principals gathered in September 2015 in support of the Principal’s Emergency Checkbook Fund (PECF), raising over $50,000! The PECF is a fund that was created by Denny and Paula Heck in 2008 that allows Principals to address the emergency needs of students quickly and efficiently so that they are ready to learn.  Everything from utility bills to shoes to SAT fees can be covered by the fund, all at the Principal’s discretion. This year, we were fortunate to have Emily McMason, Founder of Evolving Parents, join us as our keynote speaker and John Kiley, a beloved OSD alum, as our MC. In addition, four principals and administrators shared touching and heartwarming stories about how they had used the funds to help families in their schools, illustrating how a small gesture can provide big hope to struggling families. Thanks to all who made this event a great success!

The 2014 PECF Breakfast:

For the 2014 event, there was a new professional video, capturing the impact the PECF has had on the lives of Olympia School District students through the stories of the principals who use the funds. The heart-warming accounts are truly inspirational, detailing how these funds are making a difference. Something as simple as a new pair of shoes can boost confidence leading to higher grades and attendance or a pair of glasses for student, who can now succeed in the classroom and participate in athletic opportunities as a result.

The complimentary breakfast was on September 18, 2014 at The Olympia Center, 222 Columbia Street NW, Olympia. Dr. Gene Sharratt, Executive Director of the Washington Student Achievement Council was our keynote speaker.