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Classroom Teaching Illuminated with Washington Mutual's Bright Ideas Grant Program; Applications Available at the Portland Schools Foundation Deadline October 15

PORTLAND, Ore.--Oct. 2, 2001--Ever thought of creating an in-depth lesson plan to teach your class about another country, the moon or a famous painter? These are just a few ideas Portland teachers are proposing for the Washington Mutual Bright Ideas Grant Program, and the possibilities are endless. In partnership with the Portland Schools Foundation, Washington Mutual will fund over $25,000 worth of teacher grants this fall. Grant applications are available to all teachers within the Portland public school district. The application deadline is October 15, 2001.

"The goal of the Washington Mutual Bright Ideas Grant Program is to provide support to public school teachers to encourage innovative classroom instruction," said Charlotte Ellis, Washington Mutual's consumer regional manager for Portland. "The grants, which are awarded to teams of two or more teachers, promote collaboration between educators in the development of curricula designed to raise student achievement."

The grants will fund initiatives that focus on literacy, teacher professional development and other innovative projects. Over the past three years, Washington Mutual has provided a combined total of over $155,000 in funding to the Portland Schools Foundation. The contribution has helped fund a variety of initiatives including the development of the Five-Year Strategic Vision and Plan for Portland schools and funds to launch a new Principal Leadership Institute.

Washington Mutual has long been a strong supporter of education initiatives. In fact, this year alone, Washington Mutual's contributions to education will total $12 million. In addition to grants, a number of programs have been implemented such as the WaMoola for Schools program in which $1 is donated to local schools for every new checking account opened. School Savings is another program in which Washington Mutual volunteers present a one hour mini class to teach students the value of money.

For Bright Ideas Grant consideration, projects must be teacher-initiated and focus on "best teaching practices." They must also involve teams of two or more teachers working together to provide a first-rate education. In addition to teachers, other educators such as librarians, counselors and staff who work directly with students, are invited to apply for the grants, which range from $500 to $2,500.

"As with all our strategic funding initiatives, the Bright Ideas Grants will allow teachers to strengthen classroom instruction while positively impacting student learning," said Ellen Bergstone Beer, Portland Schools Foundation director of grants and administration.

"We anticipate the grants to provide constructive models for other teachers to learn from and adapt into their own classrooms."

For additional application information concerning the Washington Mutual Bright Ideas Grant, please phone Ellen Bergstone Beer of the Portland Public Schools Foundation at 503/234-5404 x12 or visit the foundation's site at www.portlandschoolsfdn.org

With a history dating back to 1889, Washington Mutual (NYSE:WM) is a national financial services company that provides a diversified line of products and services to consumers and small- to mid-sized businesses. At June 30, 2001, Washington Mutual and its subsidiaries had consolidated assets of $229.30 billion. Washington Mutual currently operates more than 2,300 consumer banking, mortgage lending, commercial banking, consumer finance and financial services offices throughout the nation.

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CONTACT: Washington Mutual
Darcy Donahoe-Wilmot, 206/377-3635