SISD supporters blast past first foundation goal

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Sabine ISD Education Foundation didn’t just hit its goal for the inaugural “Rockin’ the Foundation” event, but came within $10,000 of doubling it.

Established in July, the foundation planned the event in just about six weeks and set its goal for the evening at $25,000. After ticket sales, table sponsors, raffles and auctions, Sabine ISD Superintendent Stacey Bryce said, the organization raised $40,000 during the Saturday event.

“It was a very good turnout and the funds we raised were really more than we expected,” Bryce, who also serves as secretary on the foundation’s board, said.

Established to support the efforts in Sabine ISD classrooms, money raised by the SISD Education Foundation will go toward grants for teachers and dual credit scholarships for students, continuing an established program.

“It means a lot to the teachers and to the students because the students will now be able to have some things in the classroom that they wouldn’t ordinarily have through the regular budget process,” Bryce said. “The kids will be the beneficiary of all this.”

Sabine ISD school board and education foundation board member Tony Raymond said the foundation is, loosely, like the school’s academic boosters who support classroom activity, just as the band boosters, football boosters and other booster clubs support their designated activities.

“I’m just really excited about the opportunities that we can provide now for our district,” Misty Gee, foundation executive director and mentor coordinator for the district, said. Gee with help from other foundation directors and volunteers got the event set up in less than two months.

Although talks of beginning an education foundation began about two years ago, Education Foundation co-Vice President Gina DeHoyos said, “We felt like all the stars aligned this summer.” The foundation officially formed in July before the 2017-2018 school year.

Raymond described the foundation board as being a “good mix” of people in the community with different ages represented and a collection of some who attended SISD schools and continue to live in Liberty City and others who have moved to the area in the last 10 years.

The next big party, he said, will be when the grant checks are distributed at SISD campuses in the spring.

Raymond’s vision for the event’s future is that people start to recognize the foundation’s name and the “Rockin’ the Foundation” event as the place to be to support SISD teachers and students.

During the planning stages of the first event, he said, the foundation initially thought the event would have 20 tables. Instead, they ended up with 40 tables with more than 20 claimed by sponsors before even offering individual and couples tickets.

The event, held at Sean and Andrea Bates’ 4B Farms in Winona, went from a small fundraising dinner with a DJ to a steak dinner with live music from Dagnabbit with additional sponsors of Bates Properties, C&S Lease Service and Mike and Amy Clements and Michael and Katelyn Clements.

One of the fun aspects of the night, Bryce said, was to see the bidding wars people got into during the live auction with some items going for thousands of dollars. Two of the items that resulted in back-and-forth bidding were reserved parking and seating for Kindergarten graduation and the same for high school graduation.

“It shows the level of support from our parents and community and business because those are items that certainly didn’t cost the foundation anything to put out there and yet people are willing to do that, which turns into more or less a donation,” Bryce said. “That was fun because we saw people bidding back and forth with each other trying to get those small items that meant a lot to them, but it was fun at the same time.”

DeHoyos credited the community’s support with the success of the organization’s first fundraising efforts.

“We were very pleased with the turnout and overwhelmed with the generosity of the attendees,” she said. “It was an excellent first event, but the support from the community was outstanding and we were very blessed that everyone came ready to spend some money to support the foundation and our teachers and kids of Sabine ISD.”

With the outcome being about $15,000 more than their original goal, DeHoyos said, it is a nice start to the new organization.

“I think it sets us up for a really successful year and a successful grant season<” she said.

Now, she said, the planning begins on next year.

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