The Oakdale Educational Foundation (O.E.F.) has been in existence for 8 years. Through our annual Celebrity Dinner fundraisers and other funding endeavors we earn money for the purpose of enriching education in the Oakdale Joint Unified School District.
Over the past three years we have funded over $150,000 in grant requests. These funds have gone directly to Oakdale classrooms and programs. Some of the grants funded include art and music programs, Jr. High Renaissance program, microscopes, LCD projectors, Smart Boards, Computer programs, accelerated readers, computers, musical instruments, teacher enrichment materials, and more.
In the Fall of 2003, Dr. Wendell Chun and Denise Hitch, Counselor at Oakdale High School, attended the annual conference of the California Consortium of Educational Foundations. Upon their return, they began to formulate the idea behind starting an educational foundation in Oakdale. Accountant Dave Aced and the law firm of Curtis and Arata offered to provide their expertise in assisting with the formation of an educational foundation. Denise met with school Principals to gather information and to seek names of potential board members. After a letter writing campaign, followed up with phone calls, a July 30, 2003 organizational meeting was held with interested community members. O.E.F. held their first formal meeting in August of 2004. A group of dedicated community members came together to investigate ways to fundraise and offer educator grants to enrich the quality of education for the children of Oakdale. Charter members were Hank Barrett, Leesa Gagos, Stacy Malone, Sharon Morehead, Kyle Richardson, Mike Tozzi, Frank Clark, Diane Dupree-Dempsey, Mitch Gagos, Mary Guradiola, Denise Hitch, Kristine Hoover, Michelle Jones, Val Lee, Brian O’Bannon, Karen O’Bannon, Leslie Ozbirn, Mark Ozbirn, Fred Rich, Mark Richardson, Margaret Steves, Julie Thompson, Carolyn Waggoner, and Kim Whitemyer.
In the early months of O.E.F., there was much work to be done. A logo was designed, a post office box was established, a strategic plan was being written and plans began for the annual fundraiser dinner. O.E.F. purchased insurance, made presentations to district educators, and began to form committees to undertake projects deemed necessary to the goals of O.E.F. Shirts were ordered for the Board and the first social was hosted by Mitch and Leesa Gagos at the Hitch home. Valley First Credit Union served as the official bank of O.E.F.
Since our very first fundraiser, called The Celebrity Waiter Dinner held in 2004 the Oakdale Educational Foundation has held successful fund raising events each year. O.E.F. has funded over $210,000 in grants which have gone directly to our Oakdale classrooms in technology, teaching materials and enrichment programs. What an amazing community Oakdale is!