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CHCCS Public School Foundation celebrates 40-year anniversary, raises almost $50,000

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DTH Photo Illustration.

On Friday, the Chapel Hill-Carrboro Public School Foundation hosted its 40th Anniversary Gala — raising nearly $50,000 and well exceeding the foundation’s goal of $40,000.

In 30 minutes, $21,310 was raised by people who sent in anywhere from $25 to $4,000 through a text-to-give program. A silent auction earlier in the event raised $20,315, and a raffle made $1,200. Other donations and ticket sales added up to about $5,000

The gala specifically fundraised for True Book Fair, an initiative where Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools host book fairs for students to select two free books to take home.

The PSF is a community-run nonprofit that seeks to provide students with academic support, provide teachers with grants for innovative projects and create equitable schools in CHCCS.

Madeline Blobe, the executive director of the PSF, said many of its programs involve improving literacy and closing the achievement gap for students of color.

This summer, for example, the PSF will send books to children that don’t have access to many books at home and send teachers to read to children in lower-income neighborhoods, Blobe said

“Children having books in their home is important, to have self-selection and ownership of books is very important and joy around literacy is what we want to promote,” she said

Katherine Asaro, the vice chair and event chair of the PSF, said she spent months working with the PSF to plan Friday’s gala. She said she worked with local businesses to find experiences, such as free vacations and private dinners, for people to bid on during the auction.

“There's always that moment when you start selling tickets, you get really nervous that no one's gonna come, you're literally throwing a party and no one's gonna go,” she said. “And then once you hit your ticket sales goal, it's just the loveliest feeling, and I could not be prouder or more happy with how the event went.”

During the celebration, the PSF also included a video reflecting on how the foundation has supported public education. One of the people featured in the video was Deb Cox, a visual arts teacher at Carrboro Elementary School.

Last year, Cox led a project where elementary students worked on an exhibit about the ocean and pollution. Cox received a grant of over $800 from the PSF to buy the supplies for the project.

“I was personally spending a lot more of my own funds, which as a teacher, you don't always have it,” Cox said. “A lot more of my energy and time was trying to find ways around solving a problem of supply shortage or making sure that all of my students have equal opportunity.”

Cox is an ambassador for the PSF, which means she helps other teachers learn how to write grants to receive funding for their own project. She said the PSF makes getting grants much more achievable, and even helps organize sessions for teachers to improve certain skills and collaborate more, as well as pay for teachers to get National Board certified. 

Cox said events like the Gala show how much the foundation benefits the school district and show how many ways people can support public education. 

“It shows that people really do still very much believe in public education,” she said.

@DTHCityState | city@dailytarheel.com

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