Educational Funds


Named funds supporting the district can be established with an initial contribution of $10,000, which will be invested for long-term benefit. Contributions less than $10,000 are considered donor-designated contributions and will be made readily available. For more information on establishing a fund, contact Erin Steffen at the Foundation office.

Additional contributions to these funds are encouraged and may be made at any time.

Mike Combs Memorial Fund

Mike is the father of Dalton (MHS 2010) and Micaela (MHS 2013), father-in-law to Rachel (MHS 2008) and husband to Beth. Mike was dedicated to supporting his children and athletics at Marion High School. Mike coached Marion feeder teams for softball, basketball, baseball, and football for many years and volunteered in many capacities for Marion junior high and high school track, football, baseball and basketball. In 2017, he was recognized at the Iowa Girls State Basketball Tournament as a model of sportsmanship and decorum for Marion High School and its community. Mike passed away unexpectedly on December 13, 2018 at age 53. This fund was established by Mike’s family to support Marion Independent School District education and athletics in his memory.

C.B. & Lula E. Vernon Fund

Chester B. Vernon served as superintendent of the Marion Independent School District from 1926 to 1956. During his time as superintendent, he continued to teach a class in government and civics because he loved teaching and loved the subject. After retirement, C.B. and wife Lula remained in Marion. In 1964, the district voted to name the former high school C.B. Vernon Junior High in his honor. Since then, that building has been replaced but the namesake remains as Vernon Middle School as a tribute to the family’s leadership. In 2017, daughter-in-law Amelia ‘Mimi’ Vernon left a generous gift upon her passing to establish the C.B. & Lula E. Vernon Fund.

“I think my dad’s biggest accomplishment was to have a school district that had high academic standards and results,” shared C.B. and Lula’s son, John Vernon. “There are a countless number of people who went on to achieve success across the country after they graduated from Marion High School.”

Trojan Lodge Fund

In 2016, Trojan Lodge No. 548 gifted both the Marion School Foundation and Linn-Mar School Foundation with $195,000 each for the purpose of supporting education in the Marion community. Our Foundation was honored to receive this contribution from an organization whose membership includes several graduates of Marion High School. The Board of Trustees established a fund in the Lodge’s name and will begin distributing from it in 2019 with a goal of supporting educational initiatives in the Marion Independent School District.

Bruno Rinas Memorial Science & Interdisciplinary Research Fund

Science teacher Bruno Rinas was a beloved employee of Marion High School for 31 years. After receiving numerous memorial contributions after his death in 2011, the Rinas family established this endowment to support scientific research for faculty and students; as well as bring awareness to the scientific and general education strides Marion High School is making.

John Nelson Fund

A graduate of the Marion High School class of 1935, John Nelson was a railroad switchman who appreciated the value of a good education. Spending a lifetime investing his savings and pension income, Mr. Nelson was able to bequest more than one half million dollars to the Foundation upon his death in 2005. He made significant contributions to the Foundation, school district, his church and various community organizations. The Foundation established a fund in John Nelson’s name and in 2009, began disbursing gifts toward scholarships, classroom grants and more. Most recently, a large gift was designated to the Marion Builds Opportunity campaign with the purpose of making significant renovations to the Marion High School Auditorium and Les Hipple Athletic Complex.

Jay White Educational Enhancement Fund

The Jay White Educational Enhancement Fund was established by Mary Anne White in memory of her son, Jason “Jay” White, a 1992 Marion High School graduate who died in 1994. Jay was an honor roll student and a member of the National Honor Society, the Thespian Club and SADD. Jay’s interest in foreign languages enabled him to receive the Fulbright Medal in French. Jay was involved in many sports. His love for football and the respect from his teammates enabled him to play his senior year as a Varsity Football Captain. Jay was a member of the Screen Actors Guild and by doing national commercials and print work, he was able to travel and meet many people. This fund has supported many projects, including the start of the first One Day in May community service day.

Rathbun Memorial Fund

Anna Louise Rathbun (known as Louise) started teaching at Irving School in 1892 and continued her elementary teaching career in Marion until 1914. Her father owned the Marion Register, one of the most important papers in Linn County, and published it until 1920. Louise passed away in 1940 and left a trust to her sister-in-law, nephew and close friend. With Louise’s direction, after their passings the remainder of the trust was gifted to the district with the purpose of supporting the Marion High School library. A disbursement is made annually upon request and is used for the purchase of books and other media center material.

Copyright © 2017 Marion Independent School Foundation & Alumni Association