Puma (Fund) Power

The annual Puma Fund supports essential programs


The Advacement Office works with parent volunteers to encourage donation in the Puma Fund one morning in front of UPrep.

This year, the Puma Fund raised over $700,000. $724,818, to be exact.

The Puma Fund, a prominent donation-based income source for UPrep, makes hundreds of thousands of dollars every year.

The money, according to Director of Advancement Catherine Blundell,

helps to “support our mission of equity access, and inclusion” at UPrep.

Four percent of UPrep’s annual budget comes from the Puma Fund. “Without the Puma Fund, we simply couldn’t run all of our important programs,” Blundell said.

These programs, like Middle School Debate club and librarian Leah Griffin’s yearly trip to the Washington Library Association conference, are the reason that Griffin feels the need to help the Puma Fund.

Griffin serves as ambassador from the Puma Fund to UPrep’s faculty. She describes her role on the Puma Fund as a “Puma Fund Cheerleader,” encouraging donations from those who work at UPrep.

Griffin says she uses her “enthusiasm and humor to promote the Puma Fund and all of the good work that it does.”

“The Puma Fund supports our mission of equity, access, and inclusion””

— Catherine Blundell

Like Griffin, the athletics program benefits from the Puma Fund every year.

Director of Athletics Rebecca Moe says this year, the Puma Fund supported the Junior Varsity Ultimate team by paying for a new coach, Austin Barden, to help head coach Lily Moline lead the 23 high schoolers on the team.

Jude Roach was a captain on the JV Ultimate team. “Austin [Barden] was a great coach,” Roach said. “If we didn’t have Austin, Lily [Moline] would have had a really hard time coaching all of us.”

While Griffin is responsible for a high donation rate among the faculty, the job of encouraging  UPrep families to donate falls to the advancement office, as well as some members of the parent council.

Blundell, director of the Advancement Office, says her office invites parents to “participate at a level which is meaningful for them.”

“By giving to the Puma Fund, they let us know that they are in favor of our mission, our programs and are eager to support our work,” Blundell said. 

However, donating is voluntary. “The amount a donor gives does not afford them any special power whatsoever in the running of the school,” Blundell said.

On the parent council, Lisa Bontje serves as the advancement liaison chair — she helps the advancement office with projects like the Puma Fund.

“The Parent Council strives to set the tone for other families with Puma Fund support,” Bontje said. Eighty eight percent of families donated to the Puma Fund this year, and 94% of the Parent Council did the same.

Though it has it faults, Bontje says the Puma Fund ultimately “helps UPrep to create a supportive, challenging, and diverse learning experience for all students.”