It is the mission of the Ravenna Community Educational Foundation to enhance the quality of education and educational opportunities and to generate and distribute financial and other resources for the benefit of the students and staff of the Ravenna Community Schools.

Welcome to RCEF

The Ravenna Community Educational Foundation (RCEF) was formed in 2006 as a non-profit organization created to strengthen the caliber of education in the schools within Ravenna. Foundation board members are community leaders and residents who have a vested interest in the success of all Ravenna children.

Dolores E. (Dee) Swanson gave the initial gift to start this “Build A Fund,” as we first called it, in December of 2006, and a gift from Rudolph and Ruth Lonnee put RCEF over our “first” goal of $10,000.00 by the end of our first year. RCEF was here to stay!

Officially established in January 2007, our Charter members were: Karen Barker-President, Matt Broton –Vice President, Sharon Yonker – Secretary, Brenda Jacobs – Treasurer, with Trustees: Ken Punter, Ken Patterson, Sr., Brandy Thompson-Bueche, Laura Wagner and Dee Swanson. As RCEF was developing the first year there were many changes and by the end of that year we had to sadly accept the resignations of Matt Broton and Sharon Yonker but also added Jason Helsen, Michelle Straley and Mike Pierson. Laura Wagner became Vice President and Brandy Thompson-Bueche was our Secretary.

RCEF first met at Beechnau Elementary Library. Then during the summer RCEF moved next door to the United Methodist Church. By the end of our first year we had found our new home at the Swanson Pickle Company Heights Ravenna Road.
Ravenna residents and businesses have continually rallied around their schools. As governmental funding declines and the demands of education expand, it comes back to those who take pride in the community of Ravenna (current and past residents) to help maintain our school system's high standards by supporting our students and teachers.

RCEF provides funds for scholarships and educational enrichment beyond the base provided by the operating budget of the schools. The "little extras" provided in the classroom can potentially make the difference between a good school and a great school. Not only do the extras assist in attracting and inspiring quality students and retain first-rate teachers, they can improve school life and set Ravenna schools apart from others.

Grant awards are available to applicants from Ravenna Public Schools as well as St. Catherine's School and reach every level of education from Kindergarten through 12th grade. Scholarships are based upon an application process and interview by a panel consisting of RCEF board members, educators and a representative from the Community Foundation for Muskegon County.

John Swanson Selected for the RCEF 2014 Distinguished Alumni Award

Ravenna Community Educational Foundation has selected John Swanson for the 2014 Distinguished Alumni Award. John is president of Swanson Pickle Company of Ravenna that has one of the largest pickle storage facilities in the United States. The company farms about 3,000 acres and stores over a million bushel of pickles for processing.
John has been a leader since high school graduating from Ravenna in 1976, 5th in his class and cum laude. He graduated from Marquette University in Milwaukee with a B.S. in Business with a specialty in finance.
John has been active in the Ravenna community with the Chamber of Commerce and on the Beechnau Thieme foundation board, he served on the Ravenna Public Schools board of education and on the Muskegon Area Intermediate School District board for 15 years, including several years as board president. He has been a member of the Ravenna Lions Club for 34 years and is chairman of the Ravenna High School Sports Hall of Fame board.
At the county level, John has served on the Muskegon County Community Foundation since 2005 and is currently chairman. At the state level, he is a member of the Michigan Vegetable Council and the Great Lakes Fruit and Vegetable Expo Show committee. On the global level, he is a board member of the Pickle Packers International.
In 2013 he was awarded the prestigious Master Farmer honor and this year received the Master Farmer of the Year award from the Michigan Vegetable Council.
The RCEF is proud to honor John Swanson with the 2014 Distinguished Alumni award. He will be recognized at the foundation annual Taste of Ravenna event Thursday November 6, 6:30 to 9 p.m. at the Moss Ridge Golf Club, 13545 Apple Avenue, Ravenna. Tickets are $25 per person and $45 per couple. They are available from any of the foundation trustees: Marty Heiss, Ken Patterson Sr., Ken Punter, Jason Helsen, Karen Barker, Laura Cameron, Denny Emery, Mike Pierson and Dee Swanson.

RCEF Increases the Amount given in Mini-Grants to Ravenna Students and Teachers

RCEF has increased the amount that it will give in a mini-grant to a teacher or student from the Ravenna Area schools. The previous amount of $300 has been raised as of September 2014 to $500. This increase is only possible because of the generosity of those who claim the Ravenna area as their home. As before, teachers or students can use this website to apply for those mini-grants.

RCEF 2013 President's End of Year Report

April 8, 2014
From: Marty Heiss, 2013 President of Ravenna Community Educational Foundation
Subject: 2013 End of Year Report

1. The major event this year was again the “Taste of Ravenna.” This year’s event was the best attended and most profitable to date. We again had baskets donated by each Board member and from each school building. We also had a live auction: an overnight and dinner/breakfast package to the Shoreline Inn and Lakehouse Restaurant w/tickets to the Frauenthal Center; a sofa table designed and constructed by Ken Patterson and Ken Punter; a wall clock built and donated by Andy Engle (with boards from the old high school/middle school gym floor); two tickets to an MSU hockey game; and two tickets to an MSU basketball game. The bidding was fast and furious and Don Swanson did an outstanding auctioneering job. Moss Ridge put together the wine and beer samples again this year; however, we elected not to sell bottled wines- only to have tastings. Our alumnus of the year for 2013 was Sheri Jones Rocinski, a 1983 graduate of RHS. A very successful evening.
2. We again funded a number of grants: $1200 to the four DI teams going to national competition; $240 to Carrie Schoenborn for art department; $180 to Tammy Arbogast for iPad math app; $278 to Shari Luce for Bal-A-Vis-X program; and $300 to Clark Kantola for bobcat mounting in display case.
3. We contributed $2000 to the new Ravenna Library addition.
4. We also awarded two scholarships for 2013 ($1000 granted to Colton Kantola, $500 to Jessica Heiss).
5. We again participated in Dog Daze, handing out 1000 popsicles to many hot and thirsty attendees.
6. Officer elections were held and the officers for 2014 are: Marty Heiss, President; Denny Emery, Vice President; Jason Helsen, Treasurer, and Mike Pierson, Secretary. The remaining Board members are: Dee Swanson, Ken Patterson, Ken Punter, Karen Barker and Laura Cameron. Brandy Klapatch was removed from the Board in accordance with the Bylaws due to lack of participation.
7. Our fund balance continues to grow. We began 2013 with $92,613.34 and ended the year with $123,202.18. We are most grateful to our generous community (and to the healthy stock market) for this continuing growth and enabling the Foundation to continue supporting our schools, our staff and students with financial support in continuing academic excellence.
8. 2014 should be another great year. We will continue with our efforts and use our resources wisely in our continuance of helping Ravenna Public Schools prosper.

Respectfully submitted,

Marty Heiss

2013 RCEF Distinguished Alumna- Sheri Jones Rucinski

The Ravenna Community Educational Foundation selected Sheri Jones Rucinski for the 2013 Distinguished Alumni Award. She will be the second recipient of the award as the RCEF honored retired judge Thomas H. Linck in 2011.
Sheri graduated from RHS in 1983 and was a top 25 graduate from MSU. She has been the news anchor for CBS affiliate channel 6 in Lansing for 24 years. Sheri has received local, state and national acclaim for her work with Crime Stoppers and won the 2013 Extraordinary Woman award for the Michigan Women’s Hall of Fame; was the 2011-2012 Woman of the Year for the National Association of Professional Women and has won the Best in Category award for the Michigan Association of Broadcasters 9 times.

RCEF has Record Year in Donations and Giving Back to the Ravenna Community in 2013

RCEF was blessed with the ability to give over $5,000 in either grants or scholarships to students of Ravenna schools in 2013. We are now well over $1000,000 in fund equity and our giving to worthy students and projects in the Ravenna area should continue to grow with the outpouring of contributions we have received from those who so generously support Ravenna Schools. The Taste of Ravenna was overwhelmingly successful in 2013 and having Sheri Jones as our Distinguished Alumni was noteworthy. The amount collected/donated at the Taste of Ravenna and the number of attendees were both larger than any year previous. Go to Financial Archives on the website and view the RCEF Giving Report with Individual Donors from CFFMC. The file breaks out the individual contributions and also shows where the donations from RCEF went to in 2013.

Author Nancy Shaw Visits Beechnau Elementary

RCEF was fortunate to be able to provide resources that allowed an engaging author to visit with the students at Beechnau Elementary. Below is a report from Beechnau teacher Kelly Hecksel about the visit.......

"Last week we had the privilege of having Author Nancy Shaw visit at Beechnau. She gave three performances during the day for K-4 and a night performance too. We received a lot of positive feedback from her visit. She walked the students through the entire writing process from scribbles to final copies. The students loved to see the pictures of the big printing presses and how the book comes out on a huge sheet of paper that has to be folded. Nancy talked on Thursday night about things you can do to improve reading at home without any "gadgets" required. I had a fourth grader that doesn't like to write give me a page and a half letter he wrote to Nancy Shaw Thursday night! He wrote how she had inspired him! We were very pleased with her and the students and parents reactions after her performances. Attached are some pictures from the event. Thank you again for helping us fund the author visit".
Kelly Hecksel

2013 RCEF Leadership Board Chosen

The trustees of the Ravenna Community Educational Foundation elected the leadership board for 2013. Marty Heiss was chosen as the President, Denny Emery was elected as the vice-president, and Mike Pierson and Jason Helsen were re-elected to their positions of secretary and treasurer, respectively. We look forward to a great 2013 with this board at the helm.

3rd Annual Taste of Ravenna scheduled for Thursday 25 October 2012

The Ravenna Community Educational Foundation (RCEF) has announced the details for the 3rd annual Taste of Ravenna. It will be held at the Moss Ridge Golf Course in Ravenna on Thursday, 25 October 2012 and will run from 6:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. This on-going successful event will allow attendees to sample many varieties of wine and beer while also eating from the hearty food provided by The Cheese Lady, Ryke's Bakery and a chocolate fountain. It is sure to be a special event that will also culminate with the honoring of the 2nd annual Distinguished Alumni. There will be a silent auction for many unique items and in addition, a weekend get-a-way package and an antique factory cart will be auctioned off live. The prices remain the same at $25 for a single ticket and $45 for a pair of tickets. Tickets can be purchased from any RCEF member or at the door. You can also call 616.915.0485 with any questions.
The most important thing about this event is that all proceeds go to support Ravenna's Community Educational Foundation. The Foundation continues to award scholarships and grants while also building its fund balance to over $80,000. Please come out for an enjoyable evening while also helping the educational community of Ravenna.

RCEF 2012 Scholarship Awarded to Calvin VanderWal

Calvin Mark VanderWal, son of Mark and Janice VanderWal was the recipient of the Ravenna Community Foundation's 2012 $500 scholarship. Calvin will graduate co-valedictorian summa cum laude with a GPA of 3.99. Calvin is treasurer of the senior class and has been actively involved in student council, National Honor Society, Business Professionals of America, track and field, football, and basketball. Calvin has received numerous Academic Excellence, Honor Roll, Student of the Month and Scholar Athlete awards. He was honored as a WZZM Meijer Scholar Athlete of the Week and served as Ravenna’s athletic honoree at the 2012 West Michigan Student Showcase. Calvin plans to attend the University of Michigan or Central Michigan University to study finance.

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