On Sunday, June 6, 2021, SchoolPower presented “The Bill Steel Award,” its annual recognition of exceptional volunteerism, to Allison and Tom Motherway. The Motherways have been passionate, unwavering supporters of SchoolPower for over a decade.
After hearing about SchoolPower through friends, they joined the Board of Trustees in 2012 when their daughters were students at Top of the World Elementary. “The more we learned, the more we got behind its mission,” says Allison. “We truly believe in the value of investing in public education, not just for our kids, but for every kid in the community. We are grateful that SchoolPower gave us the opportunity to do that.”
The Motherways went on to serve as trustees for nine years, with Tom becoming President of SchoolPower in 2014 before joining the Endowment Board, where he continues to serve as a member. Tom’s steadfast leadership was instrumental in the transition to a sustainable organizational model. “His unwavering support of his SchoolPower team was crucial at that time,” says former SchoolPower Executive Director Robin Rounaghi. “Tom’s financial savvy combined with his generous, student-centered philosophy made him an ideal long-time Endowment member.”
Meanwhile, Allison served on the SchoolPower marketing team before being tapped as Vice President in 2017. During this time, Allison redefined and documented the Trustee nominations process. When she took the helm as President in 2019, she led SchoolPower to record fundraising success through the 2019-20 Wave of Giving campaign and 2020 Shine gala.
Over their years of involvement, the Motherways’ showed exceptional dedication to SchoolPower. “Year after year, they have offered matching funds, raised their paddle during live auctions, and given SchoolPower their unwavering support,” says SchoolPower Executive Director Sarah Durand. “Their mark on this organization will be felt for years to come.”
As they wrap up their time on the Board of Trustees, the Motherways say they’ve been most impacted by their relationships with fellow trustees and Endowment members as well as by the chance to help local students in a variety of ways. “It’s been great to see the focus of SchoolPower’s funding evolve over the years, from the arts to technology to social emotional health,” says Tom. “By far, what we’ll remember most about our time at SchoolPower is the people. It’s just a fantastic, smart, fun group! We’re excited to see where the next class of trustees takes it and how SchoolPower will continue to evolve to support Laguna students.”
The award was created in honor of Bill Steel, who championed SchoolPower’s Community Campaign for ten consecutive years starting in 1997. That year, the Community Campaign spiked from raising $30,000 the year prior to reaching an unprecedented $81,000. He went on to grow the campaign to the significance of where it is today and added SchoolPower Board President to his resume in 2000-2001. Like Mr. Steel, recipients of this award are individuals who are not only dedicated but also possess stamina as firm believers in Laguna’s public schools.