“Mr. March” from the “Men of the Long Tom Range Grange” calendar. The calendar has so far raised more than $100,000 for Oregon’s Junction City school district, organizers say.
What: Determined to leave no fund-raising opportunity uncovered, a dozen Junction City, Oregon, men disrobed to pose for what organizers call a “discreet, yet provocative, PG-rated” 2004 calendar to benefit local schools. First envisioned by a prim women’s club in northern England, the concept has inspired charitable groups worldwide and served as the basis for the recent film Calendar Girls, starring Helen Mirren. But Junction City’s buff, 40- to 70-year-old pinups are the first to bare all for education (and on the Internet, at www.grangecalendar.com).
Why: Hit hard by Oregon’s state budget crisis, Junction City’s 2,000- student district last year laid off more than 20 teachers, curtailed drama and other extracurricular programs, and ratcheted up class sizes. That’s when the community’s Long Tom Grange, a rural civic organization that holds yearly fund- raisers for community causes, realized that “there weren’t enough hot cinnamon rolls in the world to plug the holes in the dyke,” says Danuta Pfeiffer, the calendar’s organizer and wife of “Mr. March” (above), a retired teacher turned vineyard owner.
The Men of the Long Tom Grange calendar.
Result: Orders for the $17 calendar rolled in from all 50 states, around the world, and research stations at both the North and South poles. By Thanksgiving, organizers were well into their second print run of 10,000 calendars, had raised more than $100,000, and were expecting sales to surge during the holiday season. The school district, perhaps wisely, has taken a neutral stance, but actions may speak louder than words: Jim Bradshaw, the calendar’s “Mr. August,” is a member of Junction City’s board of education.
A version of this article appeared in the January 02, 2004 edition of Teacher as What’s Wrong With This Picture?