Save the Date for our Spring Event – Saturday, May 30th – Downtown Raleigh


Mark your calendars and save the date for our Spring Event to be held on Saturday, May 30th in Downtown Raleigh. This event sold out quickly last year. Tickets will go on sale after Spring Break, or make a donation at the “Friend of Underwood” donor level or above to secure your tickets today (See “Giving Levels” tab).

An adults-only celebration of our wonderful and supportive school community in a unique downtown venue. A fun-filled night of music, food, wine, beer, silent and live auctions, and more!

Seeking your Gifts and Talents for our annual Event

  • Are you an organized person that likes to be part of a team? 
  • Do you love to plan parties and events? 
  • Are you detail-oriented and passionate about events that run without a hitch? 

If so, the Underwood Foundation is inviting you to be involved with the planning and execution of our annual first-rate event in 2015. This adults-only event is a celebration of the success of our school community and its support of the Foundation. This great night includes wine & beer, top-notch food, silent and live auctions, and entertainment in an exclusive downtown Raleigh location on Saturday, May 30th.

Our inaugural 2014 event “Underwood Under the Stars” sold-out quickly and was a huge hit last year (see photos below) – we are seeking passionate people to help us make it equally (or more) fantastic in 2015!

​If you would like to be involved in planning this year’s event, please contact Jodi Schwartz Long ( and Michelle Jacobs ( by this Friday February 6th. Early planning is underway and we look forward to getting the core event team assembled.

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Fifth grade – Our newest alumni

Fifth Grade
“Coin Wars” – Our newest alumni
Some of you may have seen the collection boxes in the 5th graders classrooms.  These ‘coin wars” are what the 5th graders chose as their service project this year.  The goal is to collect loose change and coins each day and build up to collecting $250.  They will be donating these funds to the Underwood Foundation and if they achieve their goal will be listed on the inaugural plaque.
As the inaugural class of the Foundation alumni, we couldn’t be more excited and appreciative of such a great group of students.  Wanting to give back to the next generation and understand the value of their public school education is so fantastic.  Their parents should be very proud of them!
We hope they have started a great tradition and we are truly thankful for their support!

Bridging the Generations: Engaging Underwood Alumni

One of the goals of the Foundation is to engage the community in the success of Underwood and ensure sustainability through the creation of the Endowment.  One of the steps in this process is to reach back to our accomplished alumni and parents of alumni.  A breakfast was held at Kathy Higgins house on Oct 22nd and we had an intimate group of alumni and parents gather to share their experience with the school.  Several, like Earl Johnson, Jr, had not been back to the school in over 50 years even though he drives by it daily.  After breakfast they toured the school and were treated to some elective shares.
The alumni commented on how amazing the school looks and the accomplishments and confidence of our students.  Area Alumni like Dr. Billy Dunlap, commented on how he brings his grandchildren to the playground at the school and was excited to have an opportunity to give back!
This was the first event in what we hope will build a broader alumni engagement.  If you know of or hear of any local alumni, please let us know.  We are building a database and hope to have an alumni event next fall that will help connect more members and help our endowment grow.
Stephen Mangano – Board President and Underwood Parent


Underwood Community comes through yet again!

The Foundation is proud to announce that the goal of 100 families donating by October 10th was surpassed and as a result BlueCross BlueShield of NC will be donating $2,500 to the Foundation. In addition, EVERY teacher/staff member has received a ticket for a drawing of 8 fabulous giveaway items (all donated in-kind by the Board to the Foundation). The drawing will be Tuesday afternoon or Wednesday morning. What a wonderful affirmation to this great staff of community support!
The fall fundraising has had a continued and enthusiastic response and we appreciate all our first time donors.  For those that have not donated, please think about contributing.  The Foundation’s goal is to have have even more families participate.
The official fall campaign is over, but we encourage donations throughout the year.  Think about setting up a recurring payment that will make your yearly giving even easier. For those that donated$1000 and more you will receive information on the Spring event and your tickets as we get closer to the May 30th event.  All others, be on the look out for ticket sales to the spectacular spring event which was sold out last year!
Reminder:  any donation or pledged made through the end of 2014 will count towards your giving level for the Inaugural Plaque.
Thank you again for being such a giving and caring community.  We will announce the final funds raised during the fall campaign soon and provide a summary of the 2014/15 school year allocation.
Underwood Foundation Board

A teacher’s perspective – “It’s empowering…”

As indicated in Steve Mangano’s blog post last week, the Foundation is about the teachers.  We received these great words from one of our long standing Kindergarten teachers, Ms. O’Loughlin.  As you can see being part of Underwood and having the Foundation has continued to motivate and engage her every day in better outcomes.  At a time when public education is under fire, help us make a difference by donating today:

“Living in a neighborhood that invests in their school, thus their community, is a remarkable feeling. Running into people that you know don’t just support you because you’re a neighbor but because you are a teacher that works in the school that’s part of their world. It’s another level of relationship with the families that come to Underwood.

It’s empowering. It creates a sense of pride in what I do. I am respected as a professional. I am lucky enough to see it in the eyes of my neighbors. It therefore encourages me to want to grow and develop even further. When challenges arise, I am supported by these thoughts that I can handle it, I will figure out a way to make this work. I want to. It’s my school, community and neighborhood. They believe in me.”  (Ms. O’Loughlin – Kindergarten Teacher)

Let’s continue to show our support and meet the community participation challenge by October 10th. Download a donor/pledge card today here.

Thank you,

Jodi Schwartz Long, Underwood parent and Foundation Board member


Deadline extended to October 10th- and a challenge we can all meet!

Wow! At the Spring Kick-off Event for the Foundation, I stated that “This is just the beginning!!“, and you have proved that!!
Thanks to the Underwood community’s generosity we are off to a great start in reaching our 2014/15 goal of $125,000.  Our hope is to raise a significant portion during our Fall campaign period.  We chose September so the board members (all volunteering their time and energy) can have a concentrated period of fundraising and parents wouldn’t be getting requests all year long from the Foundation.  To stick close to this, we need more donors to reach our initial targets and ensure our Spring Event will be able to close the remaining gap.
Many of you have given and we greatly appreciate the generosity.  This message is to those that are thinking about giving but have not done so.  Blue Cross and Blue Shield of NC has put a challenge to us that if we hit 100 families donating by October 10th they will fund an additional $2,500 to the Foundation!!!
Please help us.  We are close and your donation is critical in ensuring Underwood maintains its current programming level for next year and that we create opportunities for training and retention of our teachers.  The Foundation made a great impact last year and we know we can do this again this year.  The Foundation needs you to do this. Thank for the opportunity to meet this challenge BCBS NC!
The board has added the ability to pledge now but pay in the Spring and the ability to make monthly payments towards a pledged amount.  These are great and easy ways to ensure your donation helps us in reaching our goal and we get the bonus funds.  Visit ‘Donate’ tab on this site to learn more.
I also said last Spring, that the Foundation…”Is All About the Teachers”.  In that spirit, several board members donated tickets and other special experiences like a beach house weekend, for a special teacher giveaway.  This will only occur if we hit our goal by October 10th of 100 participating families.
Please consider giving $25 for 10 months and reach our $250 level.  This will ensure the Foundation can meet its mission and our children have a consistent and world class experience that we have known Underwood to provide!
Thank you in advance for your consideration and generosity.
Stephen Mangano
Underwood Foundation, Board President


What is the impact?

I’ve been struggling to write  a blog post about the Foundation and how it impacts my children, the school, our community. Then I realized, why not reach out and hear it straight from one of the teachers? Here is a wonderful quote from Underwood’s Dance Teacher – Ms. Rachel Frasier:

I feel blessed!  Each day I have the privilege of helping students grow in their ability to solve problems, work collaboratively, create masterpieces, make connections between dance and the world around them, and express their emotions in meaningful ways. Underwood is unique in that it provides a variety of positive arts experiences for all students.  Your support of the Foundation enables us to continue this tradition of educating the whole child by ensuring that staffing needs are met in all arts areas.


There are more great direct experiences from teachers that I’ve been hearing and that we will be sharing so you can see how your contributions are making a real impact at the school. How wonderful that through our first 4 months of fundraising we were able to maintain staff levels for the school – which was in jeopardy due to school funding. I realized that that does not just affect that one teacher. Understaffing affects the entire school community. A teacher is so much more than just their classroom. When one or two teachers are out of the equation, other staff must be pulled off their important responsibilities to do other tasks, or assist on lunch duty, or hall duty, juggling their time and spreading themselves thinner to maintain the integrity of the program. Knowing that we helped ensure that integrity and that we can have a direct affect on enhancing the program is a huge driver for my family as we determine what to contribute to the Foundation.

Simply, I feel humbled to be a part of the founding year for this Foundation. Thank you for your support!


Jodi Schwartz Long – Underwood parent and Foundation Board Member


Information Session – Tuesday September 16th at 7:30am (with coffee)

We invite everyone to an Information Session on the Underwood Foundation  on Tuesday, September 16th at 7:30am in the Underwood Elementary Media Center.

Foundation Board members including Jackie Jordan will be there to discuss the Foundation’s goals and priorities for this year. If you would like learn more or have questions about the Underwood Foundation, please attend. We have great momentum from the Spring’s successful fundraising, but there is so much more to do! Learn about the Founding Donors Plaque, alumni efforts, how funds from Spring 2014 are being used, securing your tickets for the Spring Event, and more! Together we are the solution!

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A great start! What did the 2014 Spring fundraising cycle fund?

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If you were able to attend the Spring Event this past May, you heard first hand from Jackie Jordan and Steve Mangano that the Foundation met the 2014 – 2015 fundraising goal of $90,000 by July 1, 2014! What an incredible start and affirmation to our teachers, administration and community of our dedication to the school. What did those funds enable?

Specifically your funding has enabled the Foundation to:

– Fund 10 months of employment for an Underwood teacher. This enabled the school to retain all of the great elective programs that make Underwood a strong diverse school

– Fund a teaching assistant position for the 2nd grade classes. This helps mitigate the larger class sizes this grade has this year and helps ensure all children are achieving their full potential at this critical grade year

– Fund $9,000 towards the start of an Endowment. This will ensure the future sustainability of the school

As you can see, the funds could not have come at a better time. Without the support of the Foundation Underwood would have been forced to make some real programming cuts as well as overburden the 2nd grade that could have impacted learning outcomes and/or teacher retention school-wide.

Thanks to all again for a great start! And now, as we kickoff our annual Fall fundraising you will hear more from us in the coming days.