The reason for our Go Fund Me page
Jennifer’s Place recently suffered a great loss. On Wednesday June 24th2020 our President Drew Ritzen passed away. On several occasions before his passing he reached out to the other board members asking us to “please keep Jennifer’s Place going no matter what happens to me”. Losing the President of any organization is hard, but for all of us Drew was Jennifer’s Place. It was Drew that had the amazing idea to create Jennifer’s Place in memory of his wife Jenny, and to make it about something she loved and to support the community she was such a big part of. It is now our goal to make sure Jennifer’s Place keeps going and that we can still support the arts education and communities they were both so passionate about.
Jennifer's Place is a nonprofit foundation that supports arts education in the Fife, Milton, Edgewood area.
1. Every student deserves art in education.
2. Art in education is a necessity, not a luxury.
3. Everyone deserves the opportunity to enjoy, appreciate and perform art.
4. Students can serve their community through the arts.
5. No volunteer’s actions are too small.
Supporting arts education in the schools and community.
When creativity begins there are many possibilities. When creativity ends there are few.
Letter from our President-Drew Ritzen
Dear Fife, Milton, Edgewood and any other hamlet that may be within my heralded cry, I knew a woman once that exemplified support. Her name was Jennifer — my wife. Her support extended beyond her family though. It reached throughout the Fife School District, her employer Columbia Bank, and her helping hand lent to friends and strangers alike. You see Jenny’s volunteerism was like the smile that curls before a laugh. You saw her actions forming before she had a chance to say, “Yes!”
She would always tell me, “If I don’t do it, who will?” Indeed, “who will” now? Because in March 2017 Jennifer White Ritzen suddenly passed away. In gripping with the reality of what it meant to move on it gave me some inspiration to remember how much Jenny enjoyed watching others be happy. That was her reward. I know, it may sound corny, but haven’t you ever caught yourself looking over and relishing in the smile of another? That is what I will miss the most…looking over at Jenny and seeing her enjoy our son performing at his band concert or in a play.
By taking Jennifer’s passion of doing something for others with the hope of creating a smile, as well as her belief in the value of the arts in education (she did ballet, theater, and played the bassoon growing-up) I am excited to introduce to you the non-profit organization: Jennifer’s Place. A foundation with the mission of supporting arts education in the schools and community by raising money to help fund and promote the great escape and learning experience that awaits you in the art that is all around us.
To be truthful, I am just one guy who throws out ideas for Jennifer’s Place and the other board members listed below are the ones that can make them stick. I have been fortunate enough to surround myself with quality people who knew Jenny, and like Jenny, keep me grounded.
I thank you for taking the time to read and learn about Jennifer’s Place. However, I do have to apologize in advance. I will be the guy staring at you as you look at a student’s painting, read one of their stories, and as you immerse yourself in a school band, choir, or play performance. I don’t mean to stare. I only mean to be looking for that curl of a smile.
President- Drew Ritzen, Northwest Career and Technical High School
Vice President- Chuck White, Alder Consulting
Treasurer- Aimee Takayoshi, The Broadway Center for the Performing Arts
Secretary- Elizabeth Kroll, Columbia Bank