For the sixth consecutive year, residents of the Running Y community came together to “Party with a Purpose” on Saturday, August 6th. This annual fundraising event is hosted by a dedicated group of volunteers who live in the Running Y community and are committed to raising money for Oregon Tech scholarships. The event grows each year in participation, enthusiasm, and this year by leaps and bounds in total dollars raised. This year’s event brought in more than 150 attendees and over $50,000.

Running Y Resort owners Bill and Lynelle Lynch were represented by Running Y management at the event and committed to match funds raised by the homeowners for the second year in a row- this year increasing their pledge to $15,000 from the William D. Lynch Foundation. Homeowners quickly responded and raised $15,683. “It is a great pleasure to be part of a community that pulls together the way the homeowners at the Running Y do, in support of a great local institution like Oregon Tech,” said Mr. Lynch.

Oregon Tech’s interim president, Dr. Jay Kenton, and his wife Sue attended the event for the first time and were so impressed by the efforts of the group that they pledged to match additional funds raised up to $10,000. Not willing to leave any potential on the table, Running Y homeowners rose to the occasion and the additional amount needed to earn all $10,000 from Dr. Kenton, thus bringing the total to just over $50,000!

Dr. Kenton was brought in at Oregon Tech as Interim Vice President for Finance and Administration in 2015 and transitioned to Interim President upon the resignation of Dr. Chris Maples earlier this year. Early in his career Dr. Kenton also worked for Oregon Tech in the finance area. 

“I would like to thank everyone who came to this event, made donations or hosted the event,” said Dr. Kenton. “I was amazed at the support, generosity, and work that went into this wonderful activity. Your support for this scholarship will change lives and make a meaningful difference for our students and institution. Go Owls!” 

The party is hosted each year by a small but mighty committee who provide the food and beverages for the more than 150 guests. The volunteer planning committee of Running Y homeowners includes John and Lauri Blaufus, Jerry and Susan Freschi, Earl and Janie Liebich, Tom and Anne Ludlow, Terry and Laurel Joakimides, John and Lois Stilwell, and Mike and Mimi Williams. This group begins planning the next party almost as soon as one has ended. They are invested in Oregon Tech, its students, faculty, and staff, seeing it as one of the premier institutions of the Pacific Northwest. Committee member Lois Stilwell had this to say: “Being able to participate in the scholarship dinner party is very rewarding in many ways. It’s amazing to spend an evening with wonderful neighbors, community and Oregon Tech folks, all coming together for a common purpose to support deserving Oregon Tech students. We all can be proud that together we make a difference in many student’s lives through our scholarships.”

One of the two 2016-2017 recipients of the annual Running Y Scholarship, Piedad Gonzalez-Diaz was in attendance with her parents. Piedad thanked the donors personally for “helping me become the first of my family to attend college.” She spoke of prevailing over bullying throughout school due to her race and color, and overcoming the language barriers that accompany being raised in a strictly Spanish-speaking household. Working with numerous volunteer programs that focus on medical service—and empowering the Latino community—is what inspired her to want to become a medical professional. Piedad concluded, “thank you for allowing me the opportunity to prove myself, bring pride to my family, and help inspire females, minorities, and younger generations.”

Running Y scholarships are awarded annually and designated to support students who demonstrate that they have overcome a challenging home environment, adverse situation or hardship to achieve their educational goals. The donations from this year’s party and the matches provide both the immediate funds for worthy recipients and continue to build the endowment fund which now has met its $50,000 goal to support Oregon Tech students in perpetuity. The excess of funds also allow for possible plans next year of increasing to seven $5,000 scholarships awarded to deserving students.

In 2016-17 the Oregon Tech Foundation will again award over $500,000 in scholarships to deserving students, helping each one get another step closer to achieving their degrees and their dreams. This milestone is made possible through ordinary people, Klamath Basin residents, businesses and others who see a need or have an idea that they feel compelled to act upon. The Foundation applauds the giving spirit of all those that support the scholarship program and the Running Y homeowners for this year’s successful event, it truly is a “Party with a Purpose.” 


The Oregon Tech Foundation is a 501(c)(3) organization that promotes and funds the educational, cultural, charitable, and service functions of the Oregon Institute of Technology.