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Retiring Janis Vause ‘instrumental’ in Ogden schools’ financial success

By Deborah Wilber - | May 17, 2022

Deborah Wilber, Standard-Examiner

Ogden School Foundation Executive Director Janis Vause visits with Ogden School District Board Vice President Joyce Wilson and Wilson's granddaughter Sabrina during Vause's retirement party at the Copper Nickel on Monday evening, May 16, 2022.

OGDEN — Janis Vause, a fixture of the Ogden School Foundation who is retiring after 32 years of service, was treated to a farewell reception Monday evening. Her work to the betterment of children in the Ogden School District, those in attendance said, is deemed phenomenal.

“She’s been instrumental in raising so much money for such a small district,” OSD Board of Education Vice President Joyce Wilson said.

As the executive director of the OSF, Vause established the first $1 million educational endowment, worked toward the restoration of the historic Ogden High School auditorium and helped create the Fall Author Event, bringing 26 preeminent authors to the community.

Celebrated author and screenwriter Ray Bradbury was the first to participate in the Fall Author Event in 1996.

“The community went wild over it, and we have been trying to keep up that quality of writers,” Vause said.

Last year, marking the 25th anniversary of the event, former professional basketball player Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, who has written 16 best sellers, came to speak kids in the Ogden School District.

Enhancing educational opportunities to students in the district by exposing them to a broad range of educational opportunities in literacy, math, science, art and technology is the foundation’s mission.

Through fundraising events, public education is supported, allowing teachers and schools to acquire innovative equipment for more meaningful educational experiences with the foundation’s Grants Program.

Some recently purchased equipment includes a laser engraving machine, a 3D printer and musical instruments. Vause said reaching out to individuals, businesses and organizations that support childhood education in the district has been a huge part of her job.

In addition to raising funds for immediate needs, the foundation raises money for endowments. According to Vause, the foundation’s founders wanted to establish a permanent, long-term source of income for kids.

“Everyone said you can’t raise money for endowment. We said, ‘Really, watch us,'” Vause said.

The Ogden School Foundation not only raised $1 million for its first education endowment 15 years ago, they have raised much more since.

Wilson said she recalls a time while dining with Vause when she watched her in awe as Vause worked the room, conversing with some big names in Utah.

“We are able to do what we do because of our tremendous, generous, supportive, caring community that we live in — that is this community,” Vause said.

Born and raised in Ogden with children and grandchildren having attended school in the district, Vause said she is leaving her position at the foundation with a heavy heart and mixed emotions.

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