Upcoming Panther Foundation gala moves to new venue

The Panther Foundation is gearing up for its annual “Hear the Roar 2013” gala.

Some changes are on tap for this year’s fun evening of fund-raising for Spring Lake Park District 16 students.

Chris Hasling, president of District 16’s Panther Foundation, addresses an audience at a former “Hear the Roar” gala. File photo submitted
Chris Hasling, president of District 16’s Panther Foundation, addresses an audience at a former “Hear the Roar” gala. File photo submitted

“It’s all about the students,” said Chris Hasling, president of the foundation board. “(It’s about) raising money to fund opportunities in the public school system that otherwise wouldn’t be funded for many years to come.”

Tickets for the Feb. 9 gala are going fast, but tickets are still available for those thinking of attending.

The event, usually held at the Tournament Players Club, has been moved to a larger venue – the remodeled Harvest Grill Event Center at the Bunker Hills Golf Club in Coon Rapids.

The evening will include a social hour, dinner, silent and live auction and also new this year, a deejay and dancing following the silent auction. District 16 staff member Dean Downs provides the music with his Dean-O-Mite Entertainment.

Each year, the foundation chooses a Fund-A-Dream project to feature at the gala. This year, the group is throwing its support behind the Panther Pantry, a food shelf concept started in the high school the beginning of this school year for students and their families in need of food and personal products. The food shelf allows students to pick up a back pack filled with items and take it home for the weekends, when they don’t have access to school meals. The back packs are then returned Monday and put into use for the next person in need.

Hasling said thanks to the generosity of the gala donors, the organization is able to raise anywhere from $10,000 to $25,000 in a matter of minutes for the Fund-A-Dream project. In the past, the effort has raised funds for smart boards for K-5 classes, special projects for which the school district might lack resources, books for libraries and buses for after school activities in the middle school, according to Hasling.

Last year, the gala raised nearly $100,000. About 180 people attended. This year, the capacity for the event has nearly doubled to 350 seats.

This year, among auction items featured are a trained puppy for adoption, a suite at the Minnesota Swarm, an adventure on the Peddle Pub, dinner parties and more.

Tickets are $110 for dinner and activities. Admission for activities only without dinner is $25.

Co-chairwomen of the gala are Wendy Koschak and Amy Privratsky.

The Panther Foundation’s mission is to impact the education of all students, to empower strategic innovations and to serve as a bridge between community, students and staff of the Spring Lake Park School District.

As of June, 2012, the Panther Foundation had raised more than $500,000 for grants and special projects since its inception in 2004.

For more information on the gala, visit www.springlakeparkschools.org/our-community/panther-foundation. Click on “Hear the Roar” gala on the left side of the page. Or call the school district at 763-786-5570.

Elyse Kaner is at [email protected]