WINDSOR, COLO. – The Island at Water Valley was the place to be on Saturday night for the 2nd Annual Flip Flop Gala.
Nearly 500 people packed the island, located in the heart of Windsor’s Water Valley community, and together raised $100,000 in support of the Weld RE-4 Education Foundation. The foundation is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization formed in partnership with the Weld RE-4 School District, the 5,000-student school system that services Windsor and Severance, and the gala is its primary fundraiser.
“Besides the silent and live auctions at the gala, we also raised money through sponsorships of the event,” said Water Valley resident Kim Schutt, the vice president of the foundation and one of the co-chairs for the gala. “Water Valley has been one of our top sponsors both this year and last, and (Water Valley CEO) Martin Lind has been very generous in making the beautiful island available to us as the perfect setting for our tropical-themed gala.
“In fact, he has been behind us from the time we first formed the Foundation in April 2013, and has always been a staunch supporter of our local schools. We are proud to say that our sponsorships for the gala were up more than 60 percent over last year, as more people have heard about the good work we are trying to do for our schools. It is a true testament to the great business community we have here, and Water Valley is obviously a big part of that.”
Lind also played a vital role during the live auction. Lind “ham-and-egged” the crowd, with help from local auctioneer Ryan Scallon, into a $35,000 donation for Google Chromebooks. The educational tools will enable an additional 120 students to have unfettered access to personalized learning.
“The night was ridiculously festive with a bright red sunset and a full moon,” said Lind. “How could it not have been a raging success?”
Lind is a fourth-generation Windsor native and was educated in the Weld RE-4 School District.
Among the dozens of philanthropic events and causes Lind lends his name to, the Weld RE-4 School District is high on his list.
“Windsor and Northern Colorado have been very good to me and my family, and to give back to the very institution that I attended as a student is both rewarding and deserving,” Lind said. “It’s so important the community recognize the value of a great school system and we have a great school system in RE-4. The glue of our community is the school system.”
The significant contributions by Power Services, Front Range Energy, Extraction Oil & Gas, XTR Midstream, Iron Mountain Truck & Auto, Chris Ruff, Water Valley and the Lind family, along with the rest of the community, have not gone unnoticed by the foundation.
“I am incredibly humbled by the generosity of the community,” said Water Valley resident Tempy Bowman, treasurer for both the Weld RE-4 Education Foundation and the School Board. “The funds raised by the gala will help our teachers and students access the tools they need to be successful 21st century learners.”
The $35,000 donation will go toward a specific reason, and that’s the Chromebooks, but the rest of the money will be awarded as grants within the district.
“The remainder of the funds donated will be distributed directly to individual classrooms through a grant process,” said Bowman. “Principals, teachers and even students can apply for a grant that allows the access to important instructional materials that otherwise would not be available.”
Teachers have until Sept. 15 to submit their grant applications.
“We know there are many needs within our schools, so we expect to have a lot of worthy applications for those funds to consider at our next board meeting later in September,” Schutt said.
The dress code for the Flip Flop Gala was island casual and attendees were encouraged to wear flip flops, sandals or boat shoes.
While the Windsor and Water Valley communities danced to the live music by local band Equally Challenged, they enjoyed food catered by Pelican Lakes Restaurant and locally brewed beer by High Hops. All the while they displayed their generosity by donating $60,000 more than the 2014 event.
“The event is important because it helps fill some of the many classroom needs which cannot be met through traditional state funding of our schools,” said Schutt. “For example, the approximately $40,000 raised at last year’s gala went directly to our schools for the purchase of updated technology for the Windsor Middle School and high school media classes, new musical instruments and art tools, and science and literacy materials at the elementary level.
People can still donate to the Foundation and can do so by sending a check made payable to the “Weld RE-4 Education Foundation.” Additional information can be found on its website at www.weldre4educationfoundation.com or on Facebook.
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