Inclusive Community Event Celebrated the Valley’s Public Schools and Raised Funds to Create a Thriving School Community
The board and staff of the Sonoma Valley Education Foundation (SVEF) were thrilled to welcome another record-breaking crowd to the 2023 Red & White Ball on the Sonoma Plaza on August 26. More than 1,500 guests were on-hand to celebrate the achievements and potential of the Valley’s public school students and the dedicated teachers and staff who make it all possible. Guests were entertained by talented local students, who showed off their music, acting, and dance skills in the Grinstead Amphitheater. In the School Showcase area, community members were able to see student art and school projects, hear from students involved in school clubs, and learn about the projects and experiences made possible by Classroom Grants funded by SVEF’s community of donors. Executive Director Angela Ryan and emcee Nikko Kimzin spoke to the guests from the main stage about the mission of SVEF and their commitment to creating thriving school communities. To cap off the party, the crowd danced the night away to La Gente SF and their infectious latin fusion beats.
This was SVEF’s second in-person Red & White Ball since 2019, and continued last years’ successful reimagined format of a picnic-style community celebration, with guests invited to learn about the collective hopes and dreams of the teachers, staff and students of the public schools. And there was no shortage of generosity from the guests, many of whom donated in advance or at the event and, thanks to the matching gifts of event sponsors, had their donations tripled. These gifts created SVEF’s Classroom Grants fund for the school year, which allows teachers to purchase everything from materials and supplies to creative enrichment opportunities for students. All told, proceeds from the event and accompanying fundraising activities totaled $235,000 for Sonoma Valley’s public schools!
SVEF Executive Director Angela Ryan shared, “This year’s Red & White Ball was beyond my wildest dreams of what this event could be. Seeing the size of the crowd made it clear that the community is eager to celebrate everything that makes our public schools great. In particular, seeing so many students in attendance was heartwarming and a reminder of why we believe so passionately in connecting the community with the schools. I can’t thank everyone enough for showing up for the biggest, most inclusive and most fun Red & White Ball ever!”
Board Chair Graham Smith added, “We’re humbled by the generosity of our supporters and the way they show up every time. It’s an honor to host this inclusive event and see parents, families, teachers and community members united in their dedication to our public schools. I want to express my deepest gratitude to the team and countless volunteers who made this year’s Red & White Ball possible. It’s truly a one-of-a kind event, and I’m thrilled to see the way the community has embraced the new format.”
Link to view event photo gallery by Genesis Vondergeest: photobygenesis.shootproof.com/gallery/22323287/
Link to view event video created by Genevieve Smith: youtu.be/u-CE7lzDQS4
Photo credit: Genesis Vondergeest