Creativity helps school fundraisers remain consistently successful; Duniway School offers an example

DAVID F. ASHTON - Duniway Foundation Masquerade Ball co-chairs Trisha Highland and Trina Fowler were on hand to greet the arriving guests at the Melody Ballroom on March 2nd. Hundreds of Eastmoreland folks made their way to the Melody Ballroom in Southeast Portland on March 2 as volunteers from the Duniway Elementary School Foundation hosted their 19th annual dinner and auction.

Taking a brief break from their duties as the ball got underway, co-chairs Trisha Highland and Trina Fowler told THE BEE about the party.

"Our fun, festive, and elegant theme this year is 'Masquerade Ball', chosen in coordination with Alameda Elementary School Foundation volunteers; they're helping us tonight, and we'll help them with their event tomorrow," said Trina Fowler.

"The 270 guests here tonight will enjoy a silent auction, a formal sit-down dinner, a 'live' auction, and then an 'after-party', with music and dancing," explained project partner Trisha Highland.

The fundraiser is vitally important to the Duniway Foundation because it "raises funds for people", helping to pay for the school's physical education teacher, librarian, music teacher, and educational assistants, Highland said.

"And, about 30% of all the funds that we raise go to help other Portland Public Schools as well," added Fowler.

A total of about 40 volunteers, split between auction item procurement and hosting the ball, worked together with the hope of raising a total of about $50,000 that evening.

"For me, the importance of volunteering with the foundation is very personal; I want my children to have music and art in their school, as well as a well-rounded education," stated Fowler.

"I do it because we think it's an incredibly worthwhile cause," Highland emphasized. "Our Foundation and PTA come in to 'bridge the gap' in the budget because we want our kids to love school, and have a good education."

Soon, guests glided into the Grand Ballroom for a banquet of a Northwest Salad, Seasonal Roasted Vegetable Medley, Wild Rice Pilaf, and Greek Baked Chicken Breasts – followed by a "dessert dash" auction.

Duniway Principal Matt Goldstein was all smiles as participants swirled around him, many of them stopping to say hello.

"To me it's an incredible gift that they're giving the school," Goldstein said. "And, so many of our parents help out in so many different ways, from volunteering in our school, to putting on events like this, to contributing financially."

"It looks like we're being cut by one teacher [by PPS], making the timing of this event very important," Goldstein observed. "The funds raised mean that instead of having 33 students in a classroom, we're able to have 25 – and this makes a real, positive difference."

Find out more about the Duniway Foundation by visiting their webpage:

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