In July 1997, the Olympia School District (OSD) organized a group of civic leaders and concerned citizens to consider developing an education foundation for the OSD.

After a year of planning, the Olympia School District Education Foundation (OSDEF) was formed.

A fundraising dinner provided $900 for the Foundation’s initial operating budget.

Originally, OSDEF was directed to use donations to fund teacher grants and summer school foreign language programs. Teachers were encouraged to apply for grants for special classroom projects, before and after school projects and tutoring, and for equipment and classroom materials. In the years since its inception, the Foundation’s scope has increased beyond teacher grants. Today, OSDEF also funds: the Principal’s Emergency Fund; the Middle School Math Tutoring Program; a significant portion of the cost to send fifth-grade students to Cispus Learning Center for overnight outdoor education each spring; and the Performing Arts Initiative. OSDEF continues to look at new programs, initiatives and fundraising opportunities.

The Board of Trustees continues to  focus on: raising funds for these programs; developing current and future goals; and supporting the OSD the best way possible. Funds are raised through special events, private donations, and grants from businesses and other foundations. OSDEF does not receive government funding nor any funds from the school district. The board members are all volunteers; there is one part-time office administrator. The Board’s subcommittees address our focuses. Board members meet monthly and subcommittees meet as needed to address OSDEF priorities.

Since its humble beginning in 1998, the Foundation has awarded more than $1.7 million to programs that enhance educational success and promote learning for all OSD students.