Recent train derailments nor Gorge-wide gridlock did not stop the Gorge Gulp fundraising efforts of the Hood River County Education Foundation last Friday night at Venue 301.
Although an array of beverages were flowing into souvenir glass tasting mugs, the main focus of the event was all about providing funds for the Opportunity Campaign which provides money for middle school students who can’t afford the extracurricular program fees for sports or band music programs.
“In Hood River, the middle school sports fees range from $95 for track up to $185 for football, and over the last three years we’ve seen over a 50 percent drop in participation,” said Pat Evenson-Brady, former Hood River County School District superintendent
“This is a huge effect on students whose families can’t afford to have their kids in sports programs. Unfortunately it’s the middle school years when you want children to participate in sports and programs like music and band, which we also support,” Evenson-Brady said.
The Opportunity Campaign is actually a three-year campaign, its goal is to reach $150,000. The fund is already at $50,000, a large chunk coming from a donation from Providence Hood River Memorial Hospital.
“This year we’ve handed out 67 scholarships, and that’s from money donated from families and agencies like the Parkdale PTO, and Duckwall Pooley, That’s $50,000 worth of college scholarships. Over the last 10 years or so, we’ve donated $600,000 worth of college scholarships,” she said.
Evenson-Brady said that she is proud of the foundation because some of the money goes to grants for teacher education, which totaled 28 grants this year representing over $20,000.
Also of note the Education Foundation is celebrating its 25th anniversary, Evenson-Brady said.
“I remember when the foundation started with zero, so we’re really pleased that we’ve grown to something that’s really supported and appreciated by the community.”
Beverage choices included pFriem, Big Horse, Double Mountain, Solera, Everybody’s Brewing, Hood Valley Cider, Foxtail and Slopeswell Cider.
Donations to the Opportunity Campaign can be made at www.hrcef.org.