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History of OEF

The Oakdale Educational Foundation (OEF) has been in existence since 2003. Through our annual Fall Fundraiser and other funding endeavors, like the Save Our Schools (SOS) Fun Run, we earn money for the purpose of enriching education throughout the Oakdale Joint Unified School District.

In their twelfth year, the foundation had funded over one million dollars in grant requests. These funds have gone directly to Oakdale classrooms and programs. Some of the grants funded include art and music programs, the Renaissance program, microscopes, LCD projectors, Smart Boards, computer programs, accelerated readers, computers, musical instruments, field trips, teacher enrichment materials, and more.

In the Fall of 2003, OJUSD Superintendent 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 of 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 education 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. OEF 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, Frank Clark, Diane Dupree-Dempsey, Leesa Gagos, Mitch Gagos, Mary Guardiola, Denise Hitch, Kristine Hoover, Michelle Jones, Val Lee, Stacy Malone, Sharon Morehead, Brian O’Bannon, Karen O’Bannon, Leslie Ozbirn, Mark Ozbirn, Fred Rich, Kyle Richardson, Mark Richardson, Margaret Steves, Julie Thompson, Mike Tozzi, Carolyn Waggoner, and Kim Whitemeyer.

In the early months of the OEF, there was much work to be done. A logo was designed, a post office box was established, a strategic plan was being written and the annual fundraiser dinner was conceived. OEF purchased insurance, made presentations to district educators, and began to form committees to undertake projects. The first social was hosted by Leesa and Mitch Gagos at the Hitch home. Valley First Credit Union served as the official bank of OEF.

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 with proceeds going directly to our Oakdale classrooms in technology, teaching materials and enrichment programs. The OEF has thrived because of the support of generous donors, sponsors and community volunteers.