FISD Education Foundation Hosts 20th Anniversary Gala

The Friendswood ISD Education Foundation (FEF) hosted its 20th Anniversary Gala, Flappers & Dappers on Saturday, Feb. 8 at the Galveston Island Convention Center at the San Luis Resort. The 1920s-themed celebration brought together more than 370 guests united around FEF’s mission of supporting and enhancing FISD by providing innovative and engaging learning opportunities for all students through its Adopt-A-Grant campaign.

“Each year, FEF’s Gala celebrates the strong partnership between FISD and our community but this year had a special feel to me,” FISD Superintendent Thad Roher said. “Not only was it a great event but we welcomed many of the founding directors back and the focus on the mission and vision of FISD and FEF.”

The event, chaired by Molly Crow and Leslie Yarbrough, grossed over $249,000 for the Foundation. Crow shared the most rewarding part for her will come to fruition when grants are awarded to teachers throughout the district at FEF’s annual SurPrize Patrol next month. 

Cline Elementary Teacher Tess James commented that the impact of these generous donations on students is immeasurable.

“Our students have been challenged to achieve greater things because of the tools granted through the foundation,” James said.

In addition to dinner, dancing and photo booths, the Gala featured a silent and live auction chaired by Niki Rhodes and Suzanne Banfield that included something for everyone.

“Bidders had many choices – an English cream golden retriever puppy, an Omega Seamaster watch, a trip to Charleston, kayak, tandem bike, fishing and hunting trips, jewelry, sports, family packages and much more,” Auction Co-Chair Suzanne Banfield reflected. “The committee had fun curating new and fresh items for this year’s live and silent auctions.”

Following the screening of a video that highlighted the Foundation’s 20-year history, an inaugural paddle raise was held. The goal was to raise $20,000 for the Adopt-A-Grant campaign, but that goal was far surpassed as attendees pledged $39,100.

“It was truly amazing,” Adair said. “We wanted to provide a unique opportunity for our guests to be a part of ‘the next big thing’ and their generosity definitely allowed for that to happen.”

While so many things made it a night to remember, what made the night truly unforgettable was the people. Past directors, current directors, FISD teachers and administrators, FISD parents, countless businesses and a multitude of community leaders all who believe in the power of innovative, authentic learning experiences for students in FISD.

“We attribute our success over the last twenty years to the passion, hard work, and generosity of these individuals,” FEF Board President Kelly Lovell said. “From the beginning, these groups have worked tirelessly to build the framework for the Foundation, and they leave a great legacy for us to continue as we step into the next twenty years.”

Event underwriters included All-Pro Complete Auto Service, Hill Sand Company, Ben J. Raia, Attorney at Law, Kinsey Management LLC, LeasePro, The Rhodes Family, Bay Area Auto & Truck Rental, Chara Christian Dance Academy, Lesley & Tom DiBello, Raising Cane’s, Sanjay & Durga Reddy Konda Foundation, Senator Larry Taylor, AMOCO Federal Credit Union, Financial Benefit Services, Geri Mills – Martha Turner Sotheby’s International Realty, Jamie Wills – Martha Turner Sotheby’s International Realty, Texas Emergency Care Center, Susan Johnson – Martha Turner Sotheby’s International Realty and UTMB Health.