Gala Raises Money For Education

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February 11, 2019
By SHELBY MERTENS
Daily News- Record 2/9/19
 
HARRISONBURG — The Harrisonburg Education Foundation raised $86,000 this past year, allowing the nonprofit to award 59 grants to teachers in Harrisonburg City Public Schools.
HEF’s funds go toward such programs as the Innovative Educator grants, given to teachers in special education, technology, fine arts, finance and early childhood education who submit “exciting and sometimes unconventional” teaching curriculum, according to Executive Director Zanetta Ford- Byrd.
HEF is hosting its annual gala on Feb. 16 at Hotel Madison and Shenandoah Valley Conference Center, located at 710 S. Main St., to help raise money for education initiatives. It is the organization’s biggest fundraising event of the year.
“For 25 years, Harrisonburg Education Foundation has been an advocate for the students and teachers of Harrisonburg City Public Schools,” Ford-Byrd said. “Since we were founded, our mission has been to enrich the programming available in the local public school system, and we do that through assisting teachers with programming support, offering high schoolers with college scholarships and recognizing the achievements of local students.”
The theme of the gala is “A Night of Enchantment: A Masquerade Ball.” This year, HEF decided to host the event near Valentine’s Day to give guests a unique way to celebrate the occasion. Past galas were held in the spring.
“With it being our 25th anniversary this year, we wanted to do something different,” she said.
HEF says guests “will be transported to a mystical garden of intrigue and mystery.”
“We’re going to keep it really fun, fresh and creative, as well as the ambiance,” Ford-Byrd said. “We have very creative people on our decor team ready to knock the socks off everyone when they come in.”
Hotel Madison’s culinary team will cater the masquerade ball with light fare and an open bar.
During the gala, 30 premium vacation packages will be auctioned off in a silent auction. Those packages include trips and getaways, as well as a stay at the Hotel Madison’s presidential suite.
A raffle may be entered without attending the gala. The winner gets a paid trip for two to Napa Valley, Calif.
The package includes round-trip airfare, a three-night hotel stay, as well as a cooking class with a wine pairing lunch, a dinner on the Napa Valley Wine Train and a private wine tasting tour. The winner can also choose a $1,500 payout.
The winner will be announced at the gala.
Tickets for the masquerade ball are $100 per person and can be purchased up until the date of the event.
“We did sell out last year,” Ford-Byrd said. “Get your tickets fast.”