In a year when it would be understandable to pull back, the Friendswood community has stepped up time and time again for the students and teachers of Friendswood ISD. This commitment to education was seen at the Friendswood ISD Education Foundation’s (FEF) Gala held on Saturday, Apr. 10 where the non-profit netted a record-breaking $225,000+.
“This year’s gala was nothing short of extraordinary,” FEF Executive Director Ashley Adair said. “The generosity of our community and the vision of our FEF leaders never cease to amaze me.”
This year’s theme, Viva La Gala, means “long live the gala” and echoed the committee's vision from the very beginning: even though the event may have to look different, the community would still have an opportunity to come together and rally around FISD students and teachers.
The fiesta-themed “Viva La Gala'' celebration was hosted at 16 satellite locations across the community where 300 guests united around FEF’s mission. Each host was equipped with everything needed to hold a mini gala in their home including catering, decor, tables, chairs, linens and technology to livestream together. The event proved that even though it looked different this year, the FEF Gala would live on for the benefit of FISD.
Gala Chair Tracy Hopkins shared she is amazed and humbled by the tremendous support of the Friendswood community despite a challenging year.
“I cannot wait to see the incredible impact this night will have on FISD students and teachers,” Hopkins said.
Along with delicious food, music and dancing, the Gala featured an online auction chaired by Suzanne Banfield and Leah Direkly that included something unique for everyone.
“With the new event format we got to be creative and even held a pre-event ‘Party Perk Auction,’” Auction Co-Chair Suzanne Banfield said. “Participants had the opportunity to win one of six festive items such as a margarita machine, mariachi band, photo booth, etc. to get the fiesta started at their location.”
Later in the night, guests were invited to be a part of writing the story of the year by participating in FEF’s second annual paddle raise. The goal was to have guests pledge $20,000 for the #WeAreMighty Marathon campaign but that goal was far surpassed as attendees gave over $90,000.
“We were truly in awe as the paddle raise unfolded,” Adair said. “It was so much more than we could have ever imagined.”
The night would not have been possible without the collective efforts and generosity of so many who believed in the vision including FEF’s first Gala Title Sponsor, PBK Architects.
“I firmly believe that our community always shows up, always engages and always delivers, no matter the circumstances,” FEF Board President Kelly Lovell said. “Viva La Gala was proof of that.”
Event underwriters included The Sims Family, Banfield Properties, Gulf Coast Educators Federal Credit Union, Kenneth & Leah Direkly, Perdue Brandon Fielder Collins and Mott, LLP, Post Oak Municipal Advisors, Ellis Moon Orthodontics, Balfour, BOK Financial, C. Foster Physical Therapy Clinics, Elite Care 24 Hour Emergency Room, Jaime Black, Texas Emergency Care Center, Kole & Lauren Ambeau, LeasePro, Mike & Lorrie Foreman, The Law Office of Michael Russo, AMOCO Federal Credit Union, Amy Nesrsta, Chara Christian Dance Academy, Financial Benefit Services, Sanjay & Durga Reddy Konda Foundation and Thad & Tina Roher.