Record breaking success is the best way to summarize Friendswood ISD Education Foundation’s Red Hot Gala Feb. 14 at The Houstonian in Houston.
The sold-out event will fund spring grants for campuses from the non-profit foundation that has impacted students in FISD since 1999. Anticipation for the annual major fundraiser began in September when tables went on sale and all tables were sold by October. When Valentine’s Day finally arrived, more than 460 guests dined, danced, and participated in live and silent auctions at the event. Sales at silent and live events broke all previous records in FEF history.
Music at the gala was first provided during the reception time by a strings trio, Alice & Company Arcadia. Houston favorite The Jet Set band set the stage for dancing following dinner and the auctions. Decorations were designed and implemented by Darryl & Co. Photos by Bill Vinson Photography offered couples and groups a chance to remember the special night.
The silent auction offered items of varied types and prices while the live auction had various items up for bid. Luxurious get-aways, hunting and fishing opportunities, the Face of Friendswood for the Adopt a Grant program, as well as two Constitutional chairs and a signed Blake Shelton and Miranda Lambert guitar were just a few of the items offered in the live auction.
This was the sixth year of the district’s exclusive Adopt a Grant program and a special room was set up to offer grant sales at the gala. This program allows the community members and businesses to select their own grant(s) to fund. The grants are online and divided by campus. Teachers ask for funding for programs and projects which cannot be funded by the decreasing budget in Friendswood ISD.
The grants went online December 1 and will continue to be offered for a while this spring. Grant sales have been steady since December and many gala attendees bought grants before Feb. 14. Approximately $11,000 in grant sales were added from gala sales that night.
As a special treat, each couple at the gala were given small heart boxes that they could put selected chocolates inside to take as they left.
Top donors of $10,000 and higher include Moody Endowment, Lesley and Tom DiBello and First Choice Emergency Room.
Donors of $5,000 and up include Rives Designers LLC; Ham, Langston and Designers, LLP; Stanfield Properties (Beth and Alan Stanfield); and Stedman West.
Nine donors gave $2,000 and up and include Selena and Randy Ellis, DDS; Lexus of Clear Lake; Wells Fargo Bank NA; Patricia Savage/Sotheby’s; Rogers, Morris & Grover LLP; The Green Event Center-Jacob White Construction; Raymond James Financial Svcs.-Sally Branson & Harris Hanson; Gulf Coast Educators Federal Credit Union; and Copy DR- Rex Baggett.
Donors of $1,000 or more include Hill Sand Co. Inc., Hill Waste Svcs. & Dixie Farm Landfill; Texas New Mexico Power; Texan Bank; William Rearick & Katherine Rearick; Hometown Bank; Amegy Bank; Texas Gulf Bank; Texas First Bank; Star Toyota; McGriff, Seibels, Williams, Inc; Higginbotham; Ridgewater Homes; First Financial Group of America; Memorial Hermann Southeast Hospital; and AHI Supply-Brandi & Chris Sellers.
Those who gave $500 and up include State Representative Greg Bonnen, M.D.; Janet and Mike Wegner; Exxon Mobil-Icebox; Blair and Associates; and Art Dwellers.
Donors of under $500 include Kim and David Montz, DDS PA; Jim Grimsrud-Morgan Stanley; Steve O. Gonzalez; AMOCO Federal Credit Union; and the Chuoke family.
Chairing the annual fundraiser were co-chairs Lesley DiBello, CiCi Newkirk, Selena Ellis, and Janet Wegner. Assisting them were Molly Crow, Kelly Lovell, Leslie Yarbrough, Alan and Beth Stanfield, Lynn Shigekawa, Susan Kelly, and FEF Executive Director Paige Ridout.
For the past four years, FISD EF has given more than $100,000 in grants each spring with last year’s total being more than $161,000.
All proceeds from the gala support The Friendswood ISD Education Foundation, a non-profit, tax exempt 501(c) (3) organization.
The mission is: To help students pursue unlimited potential; to support teachers for innovative and exemplary teaching; and to engage the community in assuring quality education for the leaders of tomorrow.