Our Mission

The Visalia Education Foundation is a non-profit public benefit corporation whose purpose is exclusively educational and charitable to secure and distribute contributions from individuals, corporations, and foundations for the benefit of students of the Visalia Unified School District.

   About Us

The Visalia Education Foundation is a not-for-profit founded in 1983 that has as its mission "to identify and secure resources to promote educational excellence for the students of the Visalia Unified School District." The Foundation carries out its mission through community fundraising to make available:

  • student scholarships for graduating seniors
  • teacher mini-grants for innovative classroom projects 
  • increased student access to classroom technology 
  • other educational enhancements outside the school district budget
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William Close: "America's Got Talent" Contestant
Visalia Education Foundation Fundraiser - September 27th

 On Saturday, September 27, 2014,  William Close a finalist on NBC Television's "Americas Got Talent",  will be performing in Visalia's LJ Williams Theater for a special fundraiser for the Visalia Unified Education Foundation. Two performances are planned at 2:00 PM and again at 7PM. Tickets are now available for the 2 PM show (CLICK HERE) and for the 7 PM show (CLICK HERE). For questions or for those interested in purchasing blocks of tickets, call the Visalia Education Foundation office at (559) 730-7518 or email earthharp@visaliaedfoundation.org.

In 1999, William Close invented the Earth Harp, the longest stringed instrument in the world, with strings that extend up to 1,000 feet in length. He runs strings across landscapes or architecture to essentially turn them into instruments that he can then play like a cello. Close has done hundreds of Earth Harp installations around the world, from the Grand Theater in Shanghai to the Space Needle in Seattle, Washington and Burning Man in the Nevada desert. An inventor, Close has created more than 50 musical instruments.

The Earth Harp is played using violin resin on cotton gloves and musical bows. The performer’s hands are run along the strings to created beautiful cello like tones. The act of rubbing the strings creates a longitudinal compression wave.

This vibration is similar to the vibration patterns that produce tones when you run your finger around the edge of a wine glass. It is also similar to the vibration patterns created while playing singing bowls.

As William Close experimented with some of his early design concepts, he created a method of tuning the giant long strings; using a specially designed tuning block that he discovered could tune the strings to any scale. The instrument is typically tuned in an A minor scale……flats and sharps can also be included for certain installations, this is easily done by shifting the tuning block..
 CLICK HERE to watch a YouTube video from America's Got Talent.

William Close's audition on America's Got Talent consisted of playing music on an earth harp, an instrument invented by him that features many thirty-foot long strings. Howard Stern, Sharon Osbourne, and Howie Mandel all voted "Yes," sending him to the Vegas Round.
Close was one of only three acts (the other two being David "The Bullet" Smith and Olate Dogs) to advance straight to the Quarterfinals without auditioning in Las Vegas.
His Quarterfinals performance consisted of playing the earth harp to "Love, Reign O'er Me." He received enough votes to be sent to the Semifinals instead of Sebastien "El Charro de Oro" and Unity in Motion.
William Close's Semifinals performance consisted of performing Muse's "Starlight" with the earth harp and a variety of different self-made instruments such as a suit resembling a violin.

CLICK HERE to learn more about William Close and the Earth Harp at his website.
CLICK HERE  to download poster/sponsorship packet for William Close Earth Harp
CLICK HERE to purchase tickets for the 2:00 PM show on September 27
CLICK HERE to purchase tickets for the 7:00 PM show on September 27

Warren Miller's Ticket To Ride a Big Success!

The Sequoia Ski Club and the Visalia Education Foundation joined together to   present Warren Miller's Ticket to Ride, the 64th installment of Miller's acclaimed series featuring worldwide skiing adventures. The film was screened on November 7, 2013,  at the El Diamante High School Theater Visalia to over a hundred viewers. The proceeds of a little over $1000 from the event were generously shared by the Ski Club with our Visalia Education Foundation. 

This feature-length film took filmgoers on an exciting voyage to the top of the steepest peaks and to the depths of the freshest powder of Iceland's Troll Peninsula, Greenland, the Alaskan Tordirillos, Montana's Big Sky country and more.

Ticket To Ride explores the close relationship between humans and our vast natural environment, as the sport's best skiers and snowboarders take an action-packed journey across the globe to shed light on the significance of being aware of your surroundings.  

The film's exhilarating scenes surely got skiers and snowboarders excited about the coming season. To watch a short trailer of Ticket to Ride CLICK HERE.

This screening was exclusive to the area through the sponsorship of the Sequoia Ski Club. We wish to express our appreciation to the club for their generosity. 

Visalia Education Foundation Honors Ken Lange

The Visalia Education Foundation and the Visalia Unified School District School Board joined together in honoring long-time Tulare county resident Ken Lange on April 23, 2013 at the regular board meeting of the Visalia Unified School District. Mr. Lange was honored for having spent a considerable amount of time and his own money, donating new and used musical instruments for use by Visalia Unified students. 

Libby Romani, Coordinator of Music Programs for Visalia Unified and an Education Foundation Board member, introduced Mr. Lange as having an interesting hobby - giving kids and schools instruments. She shared “If we are short an instrument we can always call him and he will start scrounging.”

Marilyn Gong, vice chairperson of the Visalia Education Foundation, in presenting the award noted that the award she helped present was “long overdue”. Mrs. Gong went on to state that “Ken’s love for music and his goal to help kids play musical instruments is like nobody else. He has been so generous over the years in donating instruments to any area schools that have the need. He does this straight from the heart with no benefits to himself.”

Visalia Unified School Superintendent Dr. Craig Wheaton presented a plaque and certificate of appreciation by the school district and the Board of Education. Dr. Wheaton stated that it was “a tremendous opportunity” to present the award “for all of your contributions to the students of the Visalia Unified School District.” Dr. Wheaton also acknowledged the members of the Education Foundation and thanked the organization for their partnership in supporting the students of Visalia Unified. 

Mr. Lange first moved with his family to Tulare in the 1930’s. The family started a very successful business now called Lange Plumbing Supply. In 2007, their company was named the Tulare Chamber of Commerce’s Small Business of the Year.

Mr. Lange’s generosity has been felt not just in Visalia and Tulare, but all over Tulare County. A recent news article recognized Ken for donating over 50 instruments to Traver School. Ken and other members of the Lange family have a long history of giving to others. Ken is also active in community musical groups, as well as the free concerts that are held every Wednesday night during the summer at Zumwalt Park in Tulare. 
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