By Starrla Cray
DELANO, MN For members of the Delano Area Education Foundation (DAEF), providing students in the community with the tools to succeed is all part of a day’s work.
The foundation is comprised of volunteers who raise money to benefit Delano Public Schools.
“Our objective is to buy things that directly affect the highest number of students,” said Chad Skartvedt, who had been involved with the foundation for five years.
Twice a year, the DAEF hosts fundraisers that give community members a chance to donate to District 879.
Saturday, Feb. 6 will be the DAEF’s fifth annual gala, at the Rockford Township Hall. Tickets are on sale for $45 per person at State Bank of Delano, Absolute Automotive, Delano Community Education office, or at any of the school offices.
Tickets can also be purchased online at the Delano Public Schools web site, www.delano.k12.mn.us. Click on “Delano Area Education Foundation” and then click on “GALA information.”
Mary Ann Bernat, a member of the executive board, said that the gala starts at 6 p.m. This year’s theme is “Treasures of the Caribbean,” and the event is sponsored by Landscape Structures in Delano.
Dinner will be catered by B’s on the River in Watertown, featuring a tropical green salad with pineapple and papaya, coconut chicken breast, jerk pork loin, Cuban rice, and mango bread pudding. There will also be a donation bar, Bernat said.
The evening will continue with dancing, raffles, massages from the Delano Chiropractic Clinic, and photography sessions from Linda’s Photography and McDonald’s Studio.
Music will be provided by DJ and Delano teacher, John Fitzer.
There will also be live and silent auctions, Bernat said.
“We have a lot of great items this year,” she said. A few of the highlights include a framed autograph from Vikings football player Adrian Peterson, a Netbook computer, and wildlife art prints.
“The gala is a way to go out, while supporting the school,” said DAEF president Dan Stolfa. “It’s a good meal and a good time.”
According to the Delano School District web site, in April of 2009, the foundation awarded $26,050 in grant money to the Delano schools. The endowment exceeds $35,000.
DAEF has also has a trap-shooting fundraiser each year. This event is smaller, and typically raises about $2,000 to $4,000, Skartyedt said.
So far, the foundation has given about $100,000 to the Delano School District, he said.
“Every dollar raised goes directly back to the school district or is a direct cost,” Stolfa said.
The money has been used to purchase interactive white boards, better sound systems, computer software, a new curtain for the middle school auditorium, and other educational items.
Typically, the foundation collects applications from staff members regarding potential uses for the donations. In May, foundation members decide which ideas will benefit the widest range of students.
Stolfa, the father of two elementary-aged students, said his goal is to “provide a way so that all of our kids can have the best and most well-thought out education possible.”
With state aid unallotments, Stolfa said, DAEF is working to be a “backstop” to counteract uncertainties in future funding.
DAEF was founded in 2003 as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit foundation with a mission to enrich the learning experiences of all students in District 879 by helping them achieve academic excellence.
Anyone who would like to donate, but is unable to attend the gala, can direct United Way contributions to the DAEF. Contact DAEF representative Laurie Brown via e-mail at email@example.com for more information.
According to the school district web site, DAEF is always looking for ideas, volunteers, enthusiasm, and donations, as well as new members to join the board.
For more information about the gala or the DAEF, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Officers and board
The Delano Area Education Foundation benefits Delano Elementary School, Delano Middle School, Delano High School, and the Early Childhood Family Education program.
DAEF is comprised of volunteers from the community.
Take a look at the current officers and board members:
• Dan Stolfa, President
• Brooks Grossinger,
• Lisa Seguin, Secretary
• Mary Ann Bernat,
• Joy Bodin,
• Dr. John Sweet
• Rick Schaffer
• Rodger Schaefbauer
• Patty Fleming
• Amy Ewing
• Lee Bunker