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02-18-12: United Way donations exceed $104,700
02-18-12: United Way donations exceed $104,700

Puyallup School District employees surpassed the districtwide United Way campaign goal for the fourth consecutive year, surprising campaign coordinators who thought they had already set an optimistic target in a difficult economy.

Contributions totaled $104,787, which exceeded the school district’s goal by more than $9,000.

“I am continually impressed with the ability of our staff to pour out their generosity in support of much-needed programs in our community,” said Randy Averill, director of Information Technology and co-coordinator of this year’s United Way campaign.

Judy Jackson, director of nutrition services and logistics support, helped Averill coordinate this year’s campaign in Puyallup — the ninth largest school district in the state.

Jackson said the contributions are noteworthy, especially since staff wages have been frozen for several years and inflationary factors in the economy continue to impact people’s financial resources.

“Surpassing our goal and raising $104,787 for the United Way is a remarkable testament to the generosity of the Puyallup School District staff,” she said. “I feel privileged to count myself as a colleague in this caring community.”

Averill and Jackson shared results of the United Way drive with the school board earlier this month. They also recognized the following schools and staff members for having noteworthy campaign results:

  • Stewart Elementary and Walker High schools both surpassed their building goals by the highest amount districtwide. Stewart Elementary collected $5,889, or 196.3 percent of its goal. Walker High collected $1,770, equaling 196.67 percent of the goal.
  • Stewart Elementary had the highest level of staff participation districtwide with 97.5 percent of its employees giving to the United Way.

Averill and Jackson also announced regional participation awards, given to the principal of the school in each of the three regions in the district with the highest percentage of participating staff members. They were:

  • Regional Learning Community #1: Terrie Garrison, principal at Sunrise Elementary, which had 72.09 percent of its staff contribute to United Way.
  • Regional Learning Community #2: Arturo Gonzales, principal at Carson Elementary, which had 47.62 percent of its employees contribute.
  • Regional Learning Community #3: Anne Hoban, principal at Stewart Elementary, with 97.5 percent of building staff participating.

All 33 schools in the district, as well as support buildings, participated in this year’s campaign, which ran from October 26 through December 2.

As in past years, numerous employees throughout the district earmarked their United Way donations for local programs or services, including the district’s Children’s Emergency Fund, Puyallup Giftmakers, and Communities In Schools of Puyallup.

All three programs report an increase this year of school district families in need. School nurse Darlene Short, for example, is one of four school nurses who process applications from parents and other family members who request money from the Children’s Emergency Fund.

“There are more people this year who are getting their power shut off or being evicted from their homes,” she said. “Students can’t always come to school when this is happening in their lives.”

The emergency fund helps people who qualify by paying for rent, utilities, doctor’s fees, clothing, eye glasses, and other basic necessities, Short said.

The United Way of Pierce County accepts donations year-round. For more information, visit the organization’s website at