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.

RCEF president's Report for 2017

January 30, 2018

From: Mary Patterson, 2017 President of Ravenna Community Educational Foundation
Subject: 2017 RCEF Year End Report

1. The RCEF annual “Taste of Ravenna” was once again the main event of the year. This year we had approximately 142 people attend. We had a wonderful assortment of items donated for both the silent auction and live auction resulting in a very successful evening. Mr. Donald Swanson, on behalf of the RCEF, presented the 2017 distinguished alumni to Mr. Ralph Rogers and the 2017 memorial alumnus recipient was Mr. Burt Kennedy.
2. The RCEF fund balance as of December 31, 2017 is $204,832.05.
3. We awarded two $1000 scholarships, the recipients were Brian Thompson and Alexis MacKay.
4. We funded seven mini-grants: Grant Parker FFA -Musketawa Trails Signs, Dan Eisenhauer and Clark Kantola – science equipment, Melissa Gemmill and Wendi DeJonge – Kindergarten reading program, Kristi May – Art Pride displays, Shari Luce – STEM
5. We approved funding to have Melissa Thatcher update the alumni data base.
6. We voted to have the scholarship interview responsibilities turned over to the Muskegon Community Foundation. Changes to our scholarship criteria were made and approved. We will continue to present two $1000 scholarships annually with one of the scholarships going to a student attending a vocational or trade school.
7. We participated in the Dog Daze event in July. RCEF members handed out complimentary waters. We had a RCEF representative at the Back to School breakfast for The Ravenna Public School staff informing them of our grants available to provide enriched classroom experiences.
8. Officer elections were held for 2018: Mary Patterson, President; Dennis Emery, Vice-President; Jason Helsen, Treasurer; Mike Pierson, Secretary; Trustees are: Mary Arends, Marty Heiss, Ken Patterson, Ken Punter, Dee Swanson.
9. 2018 promises to be another wonderful year for the RCEF. As our fund continues to grow it enables us to provide more grants to insure the students in our community receive an excellent education. Thank you to our community for their generous support of the RCEF.

Respectfully submitted,

Mary Patterson

Ravenna Community Foundation Tops $200,000 in Contributions.

RCEF topped the $200,000 mark in available funds in the 4th quarter of 2107. The statement received from the Community Foundation for Muskegon County showed that we have received strong support from the community and good dividends from our funds entrusted to CFFMC. Our mission is not to collect donated money and increase our fund balance. We are called to help with the education of Ravenna students. To that end however, the larger our fund balance, the more we can give. We have the stated goal of putting at least 4% of our funds back into the Ravenna Education system every year. Obviously, the larger the fund balance, the more we give back to the community through the schools. Thanks to every person who has been so diligent in making our mission to help Ravenna Schools an unqualified success.

Mr. Ralph Rogers Jr. Chosen as 2017 Distinguished Alumnus

Ralph Rogers Selected for 2017 Distinguished Alumni Award
The Ravenna Community Educational Foundation (RCEF) has selected Ralph B. Rogers Jr. as the 2017 recipient of the
Distinguished Alumni award.
Ralph graduated from Ravenna High School in 1953 and earned a bachelor’s degree from Ferris State in 1957. He then went to work for Rogers Publishing, the family business. At the time they had a printing business and the Ravenna Times newspaper.
In 1961, Ralph assumed management of the business, representing the 3rd generation to do so. With his leadership, the company switched the printing process to offset. In 1966 the first web press was
installed, followed in 1973 by a commercial non-heatset web press. In September of 1976 the last issue of the Ravenna Times was printed, ending an 88 year span of publishing. Evolving into heatset web printing in 1981 the company continues to be an industry leader in the use of manufacturing technologies.
Ralph has been active in the community serving on the Chamber of Commerce, Ravenna Lions Club, Ravenna
Township planning commission and Ravenna Public Schools board of education.

Dr. Tim Beechnau and Mr. Merrill Baily selected as the 2016 Distinguished Alumnus

The Ravenna Community Educational Foundation has
selected Dr. Tim Beechnau for the 2016 Distinguished Alumni award and Merrill Bailey for the 2016 Memorial Alumni award.
Dr. Tim Beechnau graduated from RHS in 1974, from Michigan State University College of Osteopathic Medicine in 1981 and joined his father Dr. Louis Beechnau in 1982. He has been the team physician for Ravenna sports ever since and has
received numerous awards for his
committed, compassionate service. Most recently he was chosen to receive a
prestigious Distinguished Service Award from the Michigan Association of
Osteopathic Family Physicians (MAOFP).
Dr. Tim is also a member of the Ravenna Chamber of Com-merce, Ravenna Lions Club, St. Catherine Church and men’s club; Knights of Columbus and Ravenna Conservation Club.
Merrill Bailey-graduated from RHS in 1938 and from Michi-gan State University. He was the third mayor of the City of Norton Shores and was known for his expertise and passion concerning improved road
transportation for the city and Muskegon County. Because of his passion, the City of Norton Shores named the historic “Float Bridge” or “Henry Street Bridge” over Mo-na Lake the Merrill S. Bailey Bridge in 1993, the year he left office after 16 years of service.
Merrill was an executive with the
Anaconda Wire & Cable Company in
Muskegon for 39 years until his retirement in 1981. He was a World War II Army
veteran, served as president of Muskegon Jaycees and Michigan Municipal League. He was an economic consultant to
Muskegon County, working primarily on transportation issues for 10 years and was recognized for 25 years service to West Michigan Regional Development Commission.
Merrill died November 30, 2013 at age 93.

RCEF 2016 President's Report

January 26, 2017
From: Mary Patterson, 2016 President of Ravenna Community Educational Foundation

Subject: 2016 RCEF Year End Report

1. On November 3, 2016 we held our annual “Taste of Ravenna” event which is our major event for the year. Our attendance was down slightly, most likely due to another activity in the community held at the same time. We had a very successful live auction by auctioneer Don Swanson raising $3200. Raffle tickets for the wonderful variety of donated baskets raised $2185. The award presentations for the evening were to Merrill Bailey for memorial alumnus and Dr. Timothy Beechnau receiving the distinguished alumnus for 2016.
2. Trustees as of December 2016 are Ken Patterson, Ken Punter, Marty Heiss, Mary Arends, Dee Swanson, Jason Helsen – treasurer, Mike Pierson – secretary, Denny Emery- vice-president, Mary Patterson – president.
3. The RCEF fund balance as of December 31, 2016 is $170,975.81. We awarded two scholarship in the amount of $1000 each to Madison Broton and Prezlei Garland. We provided grants to Andrea Hall (FFA), Patricia Vermeer, Tricia Robach, Tim Funk (transporation), Cynthia Vandenburg, Ravenna DI, Kelly Hecksel, Jordan Noble (FFA) and Clark Kantola.
4. We again distributed bottled water at the Ravenna Dog Daze in August, wearing RCEF aprons for a visual reminder of our presence in the community.
5. A RCEF representative was present at the Back to School breakfast for the Ravenna Public School staff held in August 2016.
6. 2017 will hopefully bring continued support from our very generous community, allowing us the opportunity to support the academic endeavors of Ravenna Public and St. Catherine schools.

Respectfully submitted

RCEF 2015 End of Year President's Report

April 1, 2016
From: Marty Heiss, 2015 President of Ravenna Community Educational Foundation
Subject: 2015 End of Year Report
1. Our major fundraiser was again the “Taste of Ravenna.” The November 2015 event was well attended and generously supported by friends from the Ravenna community and surrounding areas. We had baskets of wonderful goodies donated by each Board member, from each school building and transportation department, and from a number of generous individuals. We again had a live auction: an overnight and dinner/breakfast package to the Shoreline Inn and Lakehouse Restaurant w/tickets to the Frauenthal Center; handmade quilt and china doll made by Karen Barker’s mom; hall bench crafted by Ken Patterson; children’s kitchen helper bench crafted by Ken Punter and a beautiful handcrafted wine rack and prize winning picture donated by Harold Woodard . The bidding was, as always, very active and Don Swanson again did an outstanding auctioneering job. Moss Ridge put together the wine samples and a Grant area brewery provided many tasty beer samples. Our alumnus of the year for 2014 was Kevin Drake, a 1976 graduate of RHS. The Foundation also elected to start a “memorial alumni award” and Paul V. Sangren was the first recipient. Another very fun and successful evening.
2. We again funded a number of grants: $500 to Neil Sladick/high school PE eqpt.; $500 to Cindy Cline/high school business ed. software; $300 to Shari Luce/Beechnau science program; $450 to Tracy Lemkie/Beechnau software; $500 to Tammy Kantola/Beechnau reading loft; $400 to Tim Funk/transportation dept. for Jr./Sr. High bus safety program; Jackie Rasch/St. Catherine preschool software program; and $1,800/Destination Imagination (6 teams) to national competition.
3. We were able to increase our scholarship grants to two scholarships of $1,000 each and one scholarship of $500.
4. We again participated in Dog Daze, handing out water bottles to many hot and thirsty attendees.
5. Officer elections were held and officers for 2016 are: Mary Patterson, President; Denny Emery, Vice President; Jason Helsen, Treasurer, and Mike Pierson, Secretary. The remaining Board members are: Dee Swanson, Ken Patterson, Ken Punter, Mary Arends, Marty Heiss and Karen Barker.
6. Our fund balance is holding steady even with fluctuations in the stock market. We began 2015 at $145,349 and ended the year with $150,364.87. We are most grateful to our generous community for this continuing growth and enabling the Foundation to continue supporting our schools, our staff and students with financial support in continuing academic excellence.
7. We will continue with our efforts and use our resources wisely in our continuance of helping Ravenna Public Schools prosper.

My 3-year term as RCEF President ended as of 12/31/15. My successor, Mary Patterson, is doing an excellent job and her leadership will see continued growth and support of the Foundation.
Respectfully submitted,

Marty Heiss

2015 Ravenna Distinguished Alumni is Mr. Kevin Drake

The Ravenna Community Educational Foundation has named Kevin Drake as recipient of the 2016 Distinguished Alumni award. Kevin is a 1976 graduate of Ravenna High School and 1980 graduate of Western Michigan University; he earned his masters degree in biology and environmental science from the University of Memphis in 1996. Kevin is currently Global Director, Regulatory Affairs, NALCO Champion-an eco-lab company in Houston, TX. He has served as Global Director, Product Stewardship for Champion Technologies, Inc, in Houston, TX; Manager, Product Stewardship-Americas, Champion Technologies, Inc. Houston, TX; Director, Regulatory Affairs, Microban Products Company, Huntersville, NC; Regulatory Toxicologist, Buckman Laboratories International Inc., Memphis, TN.

Kevin holds 2 patents; Ionene Polymers as Anthelmintics in Animals and Antimicrobial Wallboard. He has 11 professional publications and has made over 18 professional presentations.

Kevin and wife Sharon live with their two younger children in Katy, Texas while Kelsey recently graduated from the University of Texas at Dallas and Wesley is attending Collin College in Plano Texas.

Kevin is the son of Harold Drake and the late Ethel Drake and Sharon is the daughter of Dave and Rosie Ruble, all of Ravenna.

He will be presented the award at RCEF’s 2016 Taste of Ravenna event to be held at Moss Ridge banquet center November 5, 6:30-9 p.m.

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