Friends Monthly Meeting Minutes ~ May 2014

Friends of Southwest Charter School

Monthly Meeting Minutes

May 6, 2014

Field Day

Reservation for Willamette Park is underway. Since there are no restrooms in the park, we will rent portable toilets. School will cover this expense. Dennis from Zidell may be able to get us a good price on portable toilet rentals.

Hanne shared a tentative activities list. There will be morning activities and afternoon activities with a lunch break in between.

Morning activity ideas (1.5 hours):

  • Scavenger hunt for K-2 students led by 7th/8th graders
  • Improv/theater games led by Jonathan
  • Dodge ball
  • Tag games led by Mark


  • Kids gather with their teachers

Afternoon activity ideas:

  • Tug of war (Caroline & Jeremy did a great job with this last year)
  • Capture the flag
  • A non-game physical activity like dance or yoga
  • Volleyball with beach balls
  • Kickball

Work on the bottle cap mural will continue throughout the day.

We may also have a water play area.

We’d like to have the activity schedule posted around the park.

Perhaps have temporary tattoos or stamps at each activity station that kids can put on their forearm.

Review of Minutes/Community Comments

Aileah had a baby boy! Loren David Carlson was born at home Friday, April 25th. 8 lbs. 2 oz., 20 inches, 40 weeks 2 days. Aileah and Loren are both doing well, still recovering and getting used to their new life together.







Pennies for Patients

Jeff was not able to attend tonight.

Total raised this year was $732.02, which was higher than last year. Anne will announce winning class at the all-school meeting on 5/16. Winning class gets a party.

New Fundraising Models – Jessica

The Board is exploring fundraising options focused on long-term planning for future needs including building, staff, etc.

Jessica presented one fundraising model known as the Benevon Model. Benevon is company that helps nonprofits raise money. It is a mission-centered, four-step, circular process for raising sustainable funding from individual donors. The four steps are:

  • Step 1: A point of entry event: a succinct, 1-hour introductory event that educates and inspires guests with the facts and emotional appeal of your organization’s work.
  • Step 2: Follow and involve: Guests receive a personal Follow-Up Call to solicit feedback, get them involved, and ask for them to invite guests to a future Point of Entry event.
  • Step 3: Asking for money via a free 1-hour Ask Event
  • Step 4: Introducing others; reconnecting existing donors.

Board is looking into how Benevon works and perhaps folding in some of the concepts of this model to our existing fundraising.

Aaron has also talked with other charter schools about how they fundraise. Some have an optional/voluntary tuition model. They figure out an ideal operating budget, and then ask parents to pay if they can.

Financials – Nicki

According to the school, our gross proceeds from the auction were $62,792. Minus expenses, our net auction proceeds are $45,200 plus $3000 from the online auction. Therefore, the auction raised approximately $48,000!

Spring Plant sale: Gross $1800

Pizzicato “Dough for Dollars” fundraiser: $558

Laurelwood Pub fundraiser: $352

Verde Cocina fundraiser: $300

Community Life

Our next restaurant night will be May 15, 2014 at Panda Express located at 1933 W Burnside St., Portland, OR 97209 (503) 274-7116. They will give us a 20% donation, but you have to bring in a flyer. Although the email from Panda Express didn’t mention any rules, we need to see if we can distribute flyers outside the restaurant to increase participation.

Our last restaurant night of the year will be Tuesday, June 3rd at Fulton Pub & Brewery located close to school at 0618 SW Nebraska St, Portland, OR 97239 (503) 246-9530. They give us 50% of day’s sales!

Teachers & Staff Appreciation Week Update – Melissa

We still need more volunteers for the work party. We need to iterate that you can sign up for a task even if you can’t do it on Wednesday, May 14th from 3-5 pm. Teachers have provided lists that are really specific.

We are also looking for people to cover teacher lunch times next week.

We will encourage parents to volunteer via the classroom reps, email blasts, the Friends blog and Facebook.

We need chocolate! There is a collection box in the lobby.

Drop off flowers on Tuesday AM. We also need parents to stay after pickup and make bouquets.

Volunteer Appreciation Update

Friends is no longer do its own volunteer appreciation! Kathy and staff are coordinating! There will be something presented for volunteers on Friday, May 30th at the morning all school meeting at 9am. Kathy would like to have as many volunteers come to the all school meeting.

Field Day/Bottle Cap Mural Art – Hanne

We received some student design ideas. We decided to combine several elements from the student entries. Jen will do a mock up drawing. She has a friend that can large scale the drawing onto wood. If not, Melissa also volunteered.

The mural will measure 4’ x 6’ and will be pre-painted with the design. On Field Day, kids will hot glue the bottle caps in place and then adults will screw them in later.

Run for the Arts Update – Christina

Adrienne could not attend tonight.

A few people met to discuss the future of Run for the Arts. We have decided to stick with Young Audiences next year. To create our own event from scratch would take a lot of work. But we will be looking into ways to streamline Young Audiences’ massive amounts paperwork and paper-shuffling. We may also use the Tofino auction software to do online donations for Run for the Arts.

Next year, we will have 3 coordinators instead of one. Adrienne is willing to work on it again, but having two additional people will make the event less taxing. There will be a Pre-Event Coordinator, Day of Event Coordinator, and a Post Event Coordinator. All will have specific responsibilities.

In addition to Run for the Arts Coordinators, we also discussed some of the other open positions on Friends. We are looking for two people for Community Life, a Community Events Planner, an Auction Co-Chair, and a Fall Fundraiser Coordinator (Chinook Books).

All agreed that we need to communicate to the community how our fundraising efforts have helped to lower the cost of overnight education.

E.g. For this year’s 7/8th grade Seattle trip, Friends gave $1000. The cost was $270 per student, which was much lower than last year.

In addition to the usual fieldwork and supplies fees at the beginning of the year, we would also like to see school include an option for families to donate to a scholarship fund. Juli mentioned it would be worthwhile to have letters to send to grandparents for donations to a scholarship fund. Juli will look through her email to see if she has a sample grandparent letter from Hattie’s previous school.

Auction 2015 Brainstorming

Jen presented three alternative fundraising ideas:

  • Do a TED talk similar to Trillium. Have a speaker or do a film screening to bring everyone together. Or, have SWCS parents or alumni talk about the school. Fundraising portion would be a direct ask during the evening. Provide light drinks/food, casual dress. Have 3 or 4 cool raffle items/baskets so it doesn’t involve a lot of procurement.
  • Get a permit to do a block party in school neighborhood. Procure items just from the school community. Alcohol is done in the street. Have tents, music, casual dress, include children. At some point in the evening, there would be a direct ask.
  • Throwing a party at a bar and having a speaker or screening. Have socializing, come as you are. Often if you promise a bar a certain tab, they will let you have the place to yourselves for part of an evening. Where are the alumni doing, how are they doing? Teacher Sarah keeps in touch with graduates.

Because we now have the field work coordinator position to fund, it might be risky to completely change our auction model.

Kids could still do classroom art projects for people to bid on.

Auction committee will be taking a closer look at how people spend money at the auction. Paddle raise and live auction generate much more money than the silent auction. Silent auction is also a lot of work!

We discussed how to get more community members to come to the auction. Only about 30% of the community attends. Cost just to attend which includes tickets, babysitting, etc. is prohibitive. One option that received support was to make the silent auction part of the event free and have a variety of price points. Unfortunately, this model doesn’t cut down on the amount of procurement work.

Auction Committee will also examine the fair market value of silent auction item vs. the winning bid amount. We want to focus procurement efforts on items that give us the best return like restaurants and not procure the types of items that we don’t make much money on.

Auction is not sustainable if we cannot get more people to volunteer for key positions. We need to get more people involved.

We may have a non-Friends auction meeting to these ideas for next year.

Closing/Final Community Comments

JoLea asked if there was any money for classroom enhancements such as the SoundField system for classroom amplification. We have one system in Mike’s room. Teacher wears a wireless microphone to amplify his or her voice. The system also comes with a speaker, a cordless mic, and a pass-around mic. The cost is approx. $1100 per unit. Other teachers have expressed an interest in having this technology in their classrooms. Acoustics in our classrooms are some of the worst in the city. Requests for equipment purchase would have to go through the Board.

The Board and Friends need to make more of an effort to let the community know what money is being spent on! Many of us weren’t aware of the wonderful new Chrome Book testing computers that were used for OAKS testing. We would like to encourage Anne to send something out in the newsletter. Sarah has a picture of the new computer set up.

Summer Meetings:

Next meeting: June 24th – Lucky Lab 915 SE HAWTHORNE BLVD.  PORTLAND, OR 97214

No meeting in July

Tuesday, August 5th – Location TBA

For a Google Docs version of the May 2014 Minutes


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