OGDEN — Janis Vause, a member of the Ogden School Foundation who is retiring after 32 years of service, was treated to a farewell reception Monday night. His work for the betterment of children in the Ogden School District, those present said, is considered phenomenal.
“She was instrumental in raising funds for such a small district,” said Joyce Wilson, OSD school board vice president.
As OSF Executive Director, Vause created the first $1 million educational endowment, worked to restore Ogden High School’s historic auditorium, and helped create the event. fall author, bringing together 26 leading authors in the community.
Famous author and screenwriter Ray Bradbury was the first to participate in the Fall Author Event in 1996.
“The community went wild and we tried to maintain that quality as writers,” Vause said.
Last year, marking the 25th anniversary of the event, former professional basketball player Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, who wrote 16 best-selling books, came to speak to children in the Ogden School District.
Improving educational opportunities for students in the district by exposing them to a wide range of educational opportunities in literacy, math, science, art, and technology is the mission of the foundation.
Through fundraising events, public education is supported, enabling teachers and schools to acquire innovative equipment for more meaningful educational experiences with the foundation’s grant program.
Some recently purchased equipment includes a laser engraving machine, 3D printer, and musical instruments. Vause said reaching out to individuals, businesses and organizations that support children’s education in the district has been a big part of her job.
In addition to fundraising for immediate needs, the foundation raises funds for endowments. According to Vause, the founders of the foundation wanted to establish a permanent, long-term source of income for the children.
“Everyone said you couldn’t raise money for the endowment. We said, “Really, watch us,” Vause said.
The Ogden School Foundation not only raised $1 million for its first education endowment 15 years ago, it has raised many more since.
Wilson said she remembered a time when she was having dinner with Vause when she looked at her in awe as Vause worked the room, conversing with big names in Utah.
“We are able to do what we do because of our wonderful, generous, supportive and caring community that we live in – it’s that community,” Vause said.
Born and raised in Ogden with children and grandchildren who attended the district school, Vause said she left her position at the foundation with a heavy heart and mixed emotions.