Scholarship powerhouse – Silverton alum group has $2M in assets

February 2022 Posted in Other

By James Day

In 1993 the Silverton High School Class of 1963 held its 30th reunion. Event organizers decided to invest $900 in excess funds at the end of the reunion and use the proceeds for scholarships.

From that small beginning the Silverton High School Alumni Association has grown to become a $2 million enterprise. Its most recent annual fundraiser in 2019, raised more than $32,000 (the 2020 and 2021 events were canceled due to COVID-19).

As of the 2021 scholarship cycle the association has awarded 1,766 scholarships totaling nearly $1.4 million. The 2021 awards went to 71 awardees and added up to $89,000, with individual grants ranging from $750 to $2,500.

SHS Alumni Association Secretary Mason Branstetter, Trustee Judy Nunn, Treasurer
Tracy Duerst and President Linda Merrill.

So how did all this happen? Here’s one view, from Jeff Marcoe, Class of ‘79:

“My generic two cents is that Silverton has a golden history of robust community support for solid schools and competitive sports teams at the elementary and secondary levels,” Marcoe said.

“The school district and its programs and activities are strongly championed by local citizens and families. These folks pride themselves on civic involvement and the forging of close community ties and the celebration of friendly, welcoming small town and rural values.

“This has been a hallmark feature of the greater Silverton area throughout the decades. That fact has not changed despite significant population growth in recent years.”

Here’s a deeper dive into the association’s story and history. The information comes from a history of the association provided to Our Town by association officers and trustees.

• On May 10, 1996 the first association meeting was held. On hand were four alumni, a school district representative and a former district superintendent. Assets at the time slightly more than $2,000.  At a meeting six weeks later, the Class of ‘48 donated $300 of their funds and three $5 memberships were collected. An annual membership today still costs $5.

• In 1999 the first scholarship fundraiser was organized. Assets had passed $28,000.

• In 2004 the association, which had operated as an arm of the Silver Fox Foundation, was incorporated as a separate entity. By 2005 assets totaled more than $150,000.

• In 2009 the Silverton Scholarship Fund, which had co-existed with the alumni association from the 1990s through 2009, closed its doors and transferred its assets to the alumni group. The asset base was now $770,000.

• In 2019, the assets of the Peter A. and Marie Loar Trust, which for decades had helped support the Silverton Scholarship Fund, also were transferred to the alumni group, bringing the assets under management to approximately $2 million.

The association also serves as an effective networking agency for Silverton alums. A twice per year newsletter goes out to 4,000 individuals, and the association boasts more than 1,600 dues-paying members. The newsletter, edited by association trustee Judy Nunn, includes news on class reunions and other activities of alums.


Silverton High School Alumni Association mission statement

To coordinate alumni activities and to prudently manage the growth of a perpetual investment fund so that the income from the invested principal will be used to grant scholarships on a year-by-year basis for both academic and vocational post high school training to any graduate of any Silverton public high school.

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