Greater Portage Youth Education Foundation

Greater Portage Youth Education Foundation

Our History

The Greater Portage Youth Education Foundation (GPYEF) was incorporated as a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization in October 1995 for the general purpose of supporting and promoting educational and athletic opportunities for the youth of the Portage area. The initial nine-member board consisted of Mike Hurd as President, along with Marty Gavinski (Vice President), Tom Ebben (Treasurer), John Miller (Secretary), Don Witt, Steven Corbett, Tom Wagner, Dennis Dorn and Bob Mael.

The first major undertaking of the GPYEF was to raise $900,000 in private funds to give the new Portage High School a state-of-the-art technology center, performing arts auditorium and gymnasium. The fundraising goal was more than successful and the GPYEF was able to build on the generous donations of the community to continue to support the needs of the Portage youth.

Additional fundraising projects proved to be equally successful. In 2002, the GPYEF spearheaded the fundraising drive to raise $32,000 for the construction of a new concession stand for the PHS baseball and softball diamonds. In 2006 the GPYEF helped with the construction of eight new tennis courts near Bob Mael Field and then again in 2007, the foundation raised over $84,000 in the “Wood Floor Drive” to replace the basketball flooring in Portage School District gymnasiums.

Meanwhile, the board members of the GPYEF determined that it was necessary to recognize distinguished PHS alumni and others whose outstanding academic, professional, athletic and civic endeavors have brought honor to Portage High School. In 2003, six outstanding individuals comprised the inaugural members of the Portage High School Hall of Fame. The initial inductees to the HOF were Zona Gale, Frederick Jackson Turner, Archie Hahn, Harold Rebholz, Russell Rebholz and Russell Peterson. With the induction of the 2022 class, the PHS Hall of Fame now has inducted 62 individuals and 13 PHS teams.

The GPYEF continues to support and promote the youth of the Portage area. In addition to annually awarding scholarships to two PHS seniors who have committed to continuing their education at the next level, the GPYEF has regularly supported the music departments. Other benefactors of GPYEF donations include Project Graduation, Portage Youth Basketball, Future Farmers of America, the Portage Public Library, the Splash Pad project, the Touchdown Club, the Portage Community School District archery club, and many others.

Because of the Portage community’s generosity, the Greater Portage Youth Education Foundation has accomplished a great deal in a short time. But so much more can still be achieved! We look forward to continue working with the Portage community and the Portage School District as we build on the quality education in the Portage area.

Board Members

Name Employer Contact
Robin Kvalo, President
Retired – Portage High School Principal
Sue Conner, Vice President Retired – Portage Community School District
Dawne Pafford, Treasurer Retired – J.P. Morgan Private Bank
Krista Escobedo, Secretary Portage Community School District
Mike Hurd, Member Retired
Susan Kreckman, Member Divine Savior Health Care
Mike Nelson, Member Old Dominion Freight Line, Inc.
McKinsey Gazapian, Member
Nancy Ziegler, Member Retired – Portage Community School District Teacher