IFMA & GROW Community Project


Community Outreach Helps School GROW

Costano School and 49ers Academy – April 26, 4014

Sponsored by IFMA SV Community Outreach Committee

By Robert Kraiss, CFM – aka: Bob the Builder and Janis Zinn


Another successful day of hard work and IFMA partnership to support our local community took place on April 26 at the Costano School and the 49er Academy in East Palo Alto.  This year’s project, held in collaboration with the non-profit GROW (Guidance Resources Opportunity Work) organization, started with a goal of raising $100,000 for the school and Academy.  Through the generosity of IFMASV member companies and the Board of Directors (who approved a $10,000 donation raised by the Golf Committee) we provided over $250,000 in material and labor to the project.  Thank you to Board members Jennifer Olsen, Russ Goldin and Jim Zuiderhoek and GROW co-founders Julie O’Loughlin and Bob Dills and GROW Operations Committee Chair, Scott Schipper.

After prior years in partnership with Rebuilding Together, we partnered for the first time with the GROW organization.  GROW waived its sponsorship fee enabling 100% of the cash donations to go directly into the project.  GROW was formed from the IFMA Silicon Valley Diversity Committee and was spun off as a separate 501 c 3 non-profit, providing tax deductible treatment to donors beyond what is possible from a business association.  GROW also provided insurance coverage for the event

It took a large team of intrepid volunteers to make this year’s project come to fruition…

To take advantage of the school’s spring break, work began the week of April 14.  DFS Green (Wayne Whitzell) carpeted three classrooms using carpet DFS Green donated plus carpet donated by B.T. Mancini and Floor Coverings International (Michael Pinnock).  At the same time, new lobby furniture was installed in the Academy office and 36 feet of iron fence was built to help safely direct students to the parking lot pick up zone.

On Saturday, April 26, over 100 IFMASV volunteers arrived bright and early at the school for the main work day.   Volunteers were split into teams: Painting, led by Robert Dragony (Sunrise Painting) and Jenny Marshall (MAI Industries), Landscape lead by John Gachina (Gachina Landscape) and Janis Zinn (Google),  Construction led by Tom Lighthouse (VFMC), Paul Friesen (Knight Consulting) and Harvey Steinhaus (Dome Construction), Furniture led by Paul Gillick (Lifescan) and Carpeting led by Tracy Ward (CFS/Millicare).   Work coordination captains included Dawn Jungemann (CBRE), Aubrey Caton (Heathorn Mechanical Services) and Jordan Bolla (Access Communications).

Tom’s construction team tackled a full remodel of the teacher’s lounge, Paul Gillick’s team replaced twelve cubicles in the 49ers Academy office using furniture donated by LifeScan and installed by Pivot and Unisource (Scott Schipper).  In addition other teams painted and carpeted Classroom 5 and cleaned the carpet in the Academy office and four classrooms.  Construction teams also repaired a wood fence, completed teacher classroom requests and modified a storage room to serve as a theater control room in the gym.  With support from Doug Bartl (Oracle) a remodel of the school’s Principal’s office was also completed, transforming the space to a more welcoming and functional room.  Meanwhile, the Landscaping team was busy tree trimming, mulching, weeding and planting throughout the school grounds while the Painting team tackled 24 separate projects including painting “walking lines” around the school (with support from U.S. Lines).

A truck load of furniture to improve multiple areas at the school was donated by LifeScan. This included lobby furnishings, cubicles, bookcases, tack boards, and file cabinets for the classrooms.  In addition, Valley Relocation and Storage (Scott Seppala) generously donated a truck for furniture transportation and the labor costs for two movers to help for the day.

A hearty and delicious lunch was provide for the third year in a row by Cosmopolitan Catering.  During lunch we were entertained by the 49ers Academy students who sang the National Anthem.  Once again, Glen Granholm (ETC USA) brought in the earthquake simulator for “test rides” so all could experience the rocking and rolling of a major earthquake.  A special treat was the appearance of former San Francisco 49er Defensive End, Dennis Brown.   Dennis visited with the volunteers, graciously signed autographs, patiently posed for pictures and showed off one of his two Super Bowl rings.

Then it was back to work.  At the end of the day two full truckloads of trash were hauled away by our partners at Reliable Concepts.  Eric Lee (Marvell) was our very able photographer for the day.  His photos of volunteers with Dennis Brown was a major attraction.  Eric was ably assisted by Chapter Admin. Joy Dunn.

This was the third and final year of our project to fix up Costano School/49er Academy.  Over the past three years we have positively impacted the learning experience of over 500 hundred local students.  The total value of the work and services provided so far is $742,000.

And we are not done yet…  This summer Bob Dills (Western Allied) will mount a 23 foot screen and HD projector in the gym once the proper permits are acquired by the school district.  Barry Paxton (MAI Industries) will then add electrical and data to support the screen operation and the HD projector. These efforts will support the school’s dream of eventually converting the gym to a full performing arts center, a project IFMA may also support in the future.

Jim Lampkin (Alliance Roofing) and his partners at Firestone have promised the much needed replacement of 7,000 square feet of roof over the 49er Academy.  Kyle Taylor (Shredworks) will provide free shredders and shredding services in the school lobbies.  While Pat Hallett (Sabah International) is providing wireless panic buttons to both lobbies.

A sincere thank you to all our project sponsors and energetic volunteers who helped make this year’s Community Outreach project a resounding success.

Costano School-49er Academy (74 of 87)Costano School-49er Academy (66 of 87)Costano School-49er Academy (30 of 87)Costano School-49er Academy (38 of 87)Costano School-49er Academy (12 of 87)Costano School-49er Academy (14 of 87)


Leave a Reply