The Weld Re-4 Educational Foundation’s inaugural Flip Flop Gala at the Island at Water Valley in Windsor on June 29 turned out to be a huge success.
The four-hour event was the first major fundraiser for the Foundation, which is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization comprised of Windsor-Severance Re-4 School District parents and district officials to provide funding for necessary projects in the school district. The Foundation helps willing donors get their projects and money straight into the hands of students in the classroom.
“We sold almost 350 tickets prior to the gala and some additional tickets at the door, so we had a wonderful turnout for this first-year event,” said Kim Schutt, the vice president of the Foundation’s board of directors. “The weather also cooperated, as we were fortunate to have a beautiful summer day to showcase the Foundation.”
Schutt said the live and silent auctions alone raised at least $30,000 at the event.
“Plus, we raised several thousand dollars more through ticket sales and corporate sponsorships. We still have additional donations coming in, so I do not have an overall total for dollars raised just yet,” Schutt said. “In addition, at the event, Dan and Jana Sanders of Front Range Energy generously pledged to give $50,000 to the Foundation over the next five years.”
The Sanders have two young daughters who attend school in the Re-4 school district.
The Flip Flop Gala was a tropical-themed event that featured island-style food and dress, hula hoop and limbo contests, as well as judging of the prettiest toes and flip flops. Tickets to the event were $50 per person. Schutt said guests enjoyed live music from Hand-Picked (the band of Grandview Elementary music teacher Paul Maley), as well as the silent and live auctions.
She said the live auction included such things as a private party on the Princess of the Poudre (the new houseboat in Water Valley), Colorado Eagles box seats, a Windsor High School homecoming package, a custom-made quilt, a new bike from Windsor bicycle shop Spokes Inc., and $4,000 worth of orthodontic work from Windsor Smiles.
“During the course of the auction, auctioneer Martin Lind (president/developer of Water Valley Land Company) offered up more parties on the houseboat and more Eagles box seats, so several guests came away with winning bids for those items and even more money was raised,” Schutt said.
Schutt said the gala was meant to be somewhat of a first-year anniversary celebration for the Foundation as well as a key fundraising event, and she said it served both of those purposes well.
“We are happy to say that most of that money raised will go directly to our schools, thanks to some great in-kind donations from Martin Lind/Water Valley, American Eagle Distributing, Uncorked and Li’l Flower Shop,” Schutt said. “Because of their generosity as well as that of our other corporate sponsors, we were able to greatly minimize the actual cost of the event. In the months to come, the Foundation’s board members will be reviewing teacher grant applications for the coming school year to determine how to best allocate the funds raised within the schools, with the goal being to benefit as many students as possible.”
Schutt said the event went better than anyone expected for the first time out. The Foundation’s original fundraising event scheduled last September was supposed to be the big kickoff for the Foundation, but the rains and flood canceled the event. The Foundation was going to try again with a smaller event in November, and then the high school football team went to the state playoffs creating another scheduling conflict.
“We decided to wait until summer and try yet again. The third time was quite the charm,” Schutt said. “Overall, I would have to say the Flip Flop Gala was a smashing success, particularly for a first-year event. I have been involved in other boards and planned other large fundraisers during the past 20 years, and this had to be one of the most smooth-running and well-received events that I’ve ever had the privilege to be part of.”
Schutt said the gala was also a lot of fun.
“In talking with our board members following the gala, I can honestly say that we were all very humbled by the generosity shown by the folks who came out to support us,” Schutt said. “We were also very gratified by all the positive feedback we received from guests who attended, particularly knowing all the long hours and hard work that we put into planning it. We’ve already had some people ask if we are going to do it again next year, and we are certainly hoping to do so.”