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School fundraising goes green

January 16, 2009 12:00:00 AM PST
Chances are you've been asked to help out with a school fundraiser, whether it's from your own kids or a co-worker's. If you're one of those people who just can't see buying another roll of holiday wrapping paper, there's good news. A growing number of schools are giving their school fundraising a "green" makeover.Grace Phillips doesn't play around when it comes to raising money for kids' schools.

"The PTA fundraising is enormously important, so I spend I'd say 5-10 hours a week on fundraising for the school," said Grace Phillips, Parent Teacher Association fundraiser.

She doesn't mind the selling, but Phillips says she hasn't always liked the products being offered.

"I didn't want to buy that stuff," said Phillips. "So, as the VP of fundraising, I decided that it was time for someone to do some research into some more environmental alternatives."

Phillips was thrilled to be part of her school's first ever "greenraiser," the brainchild of mom Lisa Olson, whose own kids were in elementary school when she founded "Greenraising."

"I have three kids at home and I saw how much the school really needed to raise money," said Olson. "At the same time, I saw them talking about eating healthy and making healthy choices, and then selling cookie dough. I looked for an alternative and I couldn't find one, so I made my own."

The group has already helped nearly a thousand schools and organizations across the country, Greenraising, Green Students, and Go Green Fundraising are just some of the new eco-friendly sites for fundraising that offer earth-friendly items such as biodegradable lunch bags, re-usable plastic bottles, natural jewelry, and foods.

"Teach the kids as well as raise money," said Olson.

Katrina Andrews and Sheryl Steinman are two moms who started the program Earth Totes out of their homes. Their message? Going green doesn't have to be difficult or expensive.

"You can save 10,000 bags by using one tote," said Andrews.

Earth Totes is another way to "greenraise". Schools can order the canvas bags with their own logos and resell them. They're fundraising, while teaching families to become more aware of the environment.

"The schools get the kids so involved that they come up with a logo that's a recycling logo that we print on the side of their bags," said Steinman.

Of course, just because it's green doesn't mean you need it, or that consumers will buy it. But at least it will be an investment that might ease your conscience.

"I would feel more comfortable with that, personally," said Grace Phillips.


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