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A group of Upper Columbia Academy (UCA) alumni determined in 2004 to do something to positively impact their beloved school. Thus began a volunteer movement that has enabled hundreds of students to get a Christian education.

FoundationONE’s professionally managed endowment now has $3.5 million in assets. The fund’s income is more than $150,000 annually, and this money is distributed to qualified UCA students each year in the form of grants and scholarships.  

“We have grown to this point through 'friend-raising,'” says Mindy Weber, FoundationONE’s president. “Friend-raising is a winning strategy because it treats donors like real people and not like wallets. We don’t simply want people’s money; we want their good ideas, their influence and their prayers. So, FoundationONE’s action plan has been this: 1) provide information, 2) share stories and 3) let people make up their own minds. Then, when people choose to join us, 4) welcome them like family."

Meet Yvonne “Yve” Ellis Lahav, a freshman who FoundationONE is sponsoring this school year. Lahav says, “Before I came to UCA, I was becoming someone I didn’t want to be.”

Yve attended public school grades one through eight. “The first five years were fine,” she says, “but every year after that, it got harder. Because I declined to participate with my friends in vaping and I wouldn’t play sports on Sabbath, I was losing friends fast. Then, when I would open my mouth, sometimes foul language would come out, not because I wanted to talk that way but because that’s what I heard all day long.”

Yve, plus her brother, Abe (a UCA sophomore), and their single-parent mother, had, for years, been saving up for this very time. They knew that, by the high school years, they would want to be in a Christian school. But they also knew that financing would be difficult, so they agreed to stay in public school through eighth grade. Yve is delighted the time has finally come for her to go to an Adventist academy.

Not only did Yve and her brother enroll at UCA, Yve brought her horse to school. She absolutely loves the new horsemanship class. Yve is taking voice lessons and hopes to be able to join the gymnastic team soon. Her favorite class is Bible. She says, “I’ve never had a Bible class before, and I am learning so much.”

Yve also likes the project-based learning UCA adopted this school year. She says, “Project-based learning opens up things to our minds that we’ve never thought of before. It is more difficult, but I’ve learned more this first quarter in math than I learned in several years at my other school. Instead of following a simple formula, we are taught that there is more than one right way to do a thing, and we are challenged to figure it out for ourselves. We learn not only how it works, but also why it works. Our teachers don’t want us to be robots; they are teaching us to be creative thinkers.”

When asked if she has experienced anything at UCA that is truly life-transforming, Yve responded, “Yes. The fall week of prayer was wonderful. The final night the speaker made an altar call, and I, along with eleven other kids, went forward. I had been baptized, but being around godly people all the time has convinced me that I want to be a sold-out Christian for the rest of my life. The week of prayer was what I needed to make that recommitment.”

Yve loves the family atmosphere at UCA. She says, “The closeness is just good for your well-being. Sure, we students still get stressed at times. Sometimes we even feel twinges of depression. But, you never feel truly alone. In just one quarter, I’ve made better friends than I’ve ever had before!”

“My dream,” says Yve, “is to be a four-year senior, and I’m willing to work two or three jobs each summer to make it happen.”
The ultimate goal of FoundationONE is to grow the endowment to a level where we can assure every hard-working, qualifying student who lives within the Upper Columbia Conference territory an opportunity to enroll at UCA. All Adventist young people, regardless of family income, deserve the opportunity to grow and be mentored by Christian teachers. To learn more about FoundationONE, go to or call Linda at 509-939-1716.

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One of eight Circle of Friends parties  hosted by Dan and Vick Frickle of Otis Orchards for FoundationOne.

Todd and Teri Wagner invited alumni to brunch for a Circle of Friends party.

FoundationOne assists students like Yve.

Eve with her horse, thanks to the new horsemanship program.

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