The Panther Foundation is working to make its 10th annual Hear the Roar Gala its biggest and best yet.
The fundraiser is scheduled for Saturday, Feb. 22, at the Harvest Grill Event Center at the Bunker Hills Golf Club, Coon Rapids.
Tickets are $110 and can be reserved by visiting www.pantherfoundation.org.
A silent auction and social hour kick off the event at 4 p.m. Two hours later, a dinner of feta and spinach stuffed chicken, roasted beef tenderloin medallions and butternut squash ravioli will be served before the live auction and dancing begin.
“All of the funds raised go to support our students in the Spring Lake Park School District,” said Colleen Pederson, director of community education and one of 16 on the Panther Foundation Board. “It’s a really fun night, and it has such a great cause.”
Experiences on the auction block include everything from an escape to sunny Mexico – where the average February temperature is between 70 and 80 degrees – to LASIK eye surgery from North Suburban Eye Specialists.
New this year, attendees can keep tabs on their bids from the comfort of their own seats with mobile bidding on their smart phones.
Ten years ago, less than 50 people gathered for the gala, held in a foundation member’s home.
Last year, 225 gala guests packed the Harvest Grill, bringing in $113,000 for the Panther Foundation.
“Our purpose with the foundation is to raise money so that we can fund grants and special projects that will enrich education, empower strategic innovations throughout our school district and build partnerships with the community,” Pederson said.
Each year the foundation picks a special project to sponsor with its Fund-A-Dream direct giving solicitation. This year, the foundation plans to establish an Angel Fund to help students who are in need, particularly students who require housing, clothing or food.
The district receives money from the Anoka County Children and Family Council for the same purpose.
The Angel Fund “would allow us to reach more families and provide more support throughout the year,” Pederson said.
Last year, the foundation raised $30,000 to support its Fund-A-Dream project, Panther Pantry weekend food packs, which help keep children nourished when they aren’t in school.
For more information, visit www.pantherfoundation.org.
Olivia Koester is at [email protected]