Panther Foundation Gala brings in more than $185,000 for SLP Schools

Staff Writer
Since 2013, I have primarily covered the Anoka-Hennepin and Spring Lake Park school districts as well as the city of Spring Lake Park for ABC Newspapers.

Exceeding last year’s total, the 2017 Panther Foundation Gala raised more than $185,000 for Spring Lake Park Schools.

The Panther Foundation Gala raised more than $185,000 Feb. 25. Photos submitted
The Panther Foundation Gala raised more than $185,000 Feb. 25. Photos submitted

More than 350 attended the 13th annual gala, held at Mississippi Gardens in Brooklyn Park Feb. 25.

“An Evening Under the Stars” saw the Panther Foundation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting learning in Spring Lake Park Schools, hit the $1 million mark in total dollars distributed since 2004. The foundation has funded more than 260 projects in the past 13 years.

“We are proud to have a dedicated and generous community that continues to show their support for our students and district,” said Bill Koschak, foundation chairperson.

More than 400 silent auction items were up for bid, as were larger live auction packages, such as tickets to taping of “The Ellen DeGeneres Show,” trips across the United States and a kayak made by Spring Lake Park High School students.

Annually, the Panther Foundation identifies a particular project as its Fund-a-Dream initiative.

Science, technology, engineering and mathematics programming was identified as the 2017 Fund-a-Dream cause, and attendees donated more than $27,000. The Panther Foundation Board of Directors has pledged to match that amount.

“A STEM approach to learning creates powerful learners, and we want our children to see no limits to their future,” Superintendent Jeff Ronneberg said.

Annual Panther Foundation sponsors include Marsh & McLennan Agency, Meyer Contracting, Chris & Niomi Hasling, Hoffman Weber Construction, Imagine Smiles, Kraus-Anderson Construction Company, Kris Lindahl of REMAX realty, The Nate Raich Group, State Farm – Tom Holland Agency and Walters Recycling and Refuse.

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Dan Stusynski bids on silent auction items at the 2017 Panther Foundation Gala. Paddles go up to support this year’s Fund-a-Dream cause: science, technology, engineering and mathematics education. WCCO-TV reporter Ali Lucia served as the master of ceremonies for the 13th annual Panther Foundation Gala.
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Paddles go up to support this year’s Fund-a-Dream cause: science, technology, engineering and mathematics education.