Bill Berg and Mindy Cameron

Being a Part of Something Big

We founded the Panhandle Alliance for Education in 2002 because of our strong belief in public education and the understanding that Idaho schools are underfunded. Aside from their parents, the factor that’s shown to make a difference in kids’ lives is the quality of their teachers, and from 2003-2019 PAFE awarded nearly $2 million in grants to local teachers for training and programs.

Among the PAFE programs we’re most proud of are those that prepare young children for kindergarten, raise reading scores across grades, and counsel high-school seniors to go on to college and occupational training with help selecting schools, securing financial aid, and more. The Lake Pend Oreille School District is now recognized as among the top in the state for these reasons. 

In 2015 we launched the Founders Fund, managed by the Idaho Community Foundation, for major donors who contribute $10,000 or more. The Founders Fund is key to the sustainability of PAFE in that it builds the endowment at a faster rate and generates annual interest to cover overhead expenses; this allows other monies raised to go directly to programs and teacher grants. Testamentary gifts to the Founders Fund are also important and most welcome.

We’re awed by the generosity of our donors, who understand that in giving to PAFE, they’re a part of something big and lasting. We believe that as citizens, we have an obligation to our communities. When we pay attention to the world around us and our community in particular, we become aware of the needs of others – in this case, students and teachers – and are moved to do something to benefit them. Each of us can ask, Am I drawn to direct service? Can I give money to support an organization that has meaning outside myself? 

PAFE is forward-thinking and data-driven, with successful outcomes in partnership with the district and its superintendent. The mission statement we crafted has stood the test of time, and donors can trust that PAFE remains an independent organization, run by dedicated staff and a board of local business and civic leaders, continuing to support effective teaching, learning, and school management. 

We appreciate the trust that donors and the community as a whole have put in PAFE over the years. 

Mindy Cameron retired in 2001 as a Seattle Times editor. She was an original member of the PAFE board of directors and was a trustee of the Lake Pend Oreille School District from 2004-2015. She also served on the boards of the Inland Northwest Community Foundation and the Idaho Humanities Council. She currently is a trustee of her alma mater, Pacific University, in Forest Grove, Oregon.

Bill Berg is a founding partner of Berg, McLaughlin & Nelson, a law firm in Sandpoint, and before that worked for 20 years in broadcast news. He is a past president of PAFE and has served on the board of directors of the Idaho Community Foundation since 2011.