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Angel investor will thank local teachers for inspiring his successful career at fundraising event planned for Jan. 30

JONESMichael Jones, an angel investor who attributes his success in part to Lake Oswego teachers who helped shape his entrepreneurial spirit at a young age, will be the featured speaker this month at the Lake Oswego Schools Foundation's annual luncheon.

"What I like about having Mike as our speaker is that he's really a shining example of what the Foundation provides for students: a great start to a bright future," says Mary Kay Larson, the organization's exectuive director. "We see the luncheon as a celebration of our community's giving spirit — not only financial donations, but also the donation of people's time and their advocacy, which are just as important."

After graduating from Lake Oswego High in 1993, Jones studied Marketing and International Business at the University of Oregon. Since that time, he has made a career out of investing in future opportunities and growing businesses ranging from early-stage startups to private equity-backed companies to public media enterprises.

Jones started his first company in college at the University of Oregon's International Business School, where he was named 'Student Entrepreneur of the Year' in 1997. He is currently CEO of the startup company Science Inc. in Santa Monica, Calif.

The Foundation luncheon is scheduled from 11 a.m.-1 p.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 30, at the Oregon Golf Club, 25700 S.W. Petes Mountain Road, West Linn. Tickets are $45 per seat or $425 per table and must be purchased in advance.

Ticket sales will end on Jan. 25, but Larson says she expects to sell out before that. To register, go to tinyurl.com/FoundationLunch or call Larson at 503-534-2106 or Kim Wagner at 503-534-2118.

The Lake Oswego Schools Foundation uses donations to hire and retain additional teachers, who typically can be found at every school in the district; the $1.5 million raised last year currently funds the equivalent of 20 full-time teachers in Lake Oswego classrooms.

Simply put, Larson says, "the Foundation ensures students a higher quality of education and life."

REVIEW PHOTO: VERN UYETAKE - Executive Director Mary Kay Larson says the Lake Oswego Schools Foundation annnual luncheon is 'a celebration of our community's giving spirit.'This year, she says, the Foundation has been focused on welcoming new families into the district. "Most everyone who lives in Lake Oswego chooses to live here, and many of them choose to live here because of the schools," she says. "Hearing their excitement about the district is rewarding."

Larson says one her goals is to give new families an understanding and appreciation of what the Foundation does. "Whether or not they realize it, many of the reasons they wanted to come to this district is because of work the Foundation does," she says.

Another Foundation goal this year is to establish stronger partnerships with the business community in Lake Oswego, Larson says, and so far, so good. "We have seen a 25 percent increase from business contributions, and about the same from in-kind contributions, which are so valuable," she says.

Business partnerships with the Foundation are beneficial to both parties, Larson says: Businesses provide contributions to the Foundation, and the Foundation helps introduce new families (and longtime residents, too) to businesses they may not be familiar with.

"For example, Chuck's Place donated all of the coffee for our recent meet-and-greet," Larson says. "So we were able to introduce new families to a favorite local spot."

Larson, who will serve as emcee at the luncheon, says she is looking forward to the event because it creates a sense of community bonding.

"It's kind of like a pep rally for the community and the Foundation," she says. "The best part is the positive energy and how it brings everyone together. It's great to be in a room full of many of the Foundation's most positive supporters."

In the week following the luncheon, the Foundation will kick off the year's first phone-a-thon. It will run from Feb. 6-8, and interested volunteers are encouraged to call Larson or Wagner.

"That's when our volunteer efforts really kick up a notch," Larson says. "It's actually really fun. There's something really energizing about working together."

Contact Lake Oswego Review reporter Claire Holley at 503-636-1281 ext. 109 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

IF YOU GO

What: Lake Oswego Schools Foundation annual luncheon

When: 11 a.m.-1 p.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 30

Where: Oregon Golf Club, 25700 S.W. Petes Mountain Road, West Linn

Cost: $45 per seat, $425 per table

To register: Tickets are available online at tinyurl.com/FoundationLunch or by calling Kim Wagner at 503-534-2118 or Mary Kay Larson at 503-534-2106.

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