The Education Foundation of Teton Valley is yet another nonprofit that has had to rethink one of its marquee fundraising events, in this case the Ride and Dine, which this year will be the Hide and Shine, a virtual auction that opened Nov. 16.
“We were trying to figure it out safely and thought of different options like a Walk and Dine, but a lot of the venues didn’t want large crowds, so we decided in August not to hold it,” said Education Foundation executive director Pam Walker.
The nonprofit could have “hunkered down and waited it out,” Walker added, but with the pandemic revealing new needs in the school system, she and the foundation board committed to continue raising money to support public schools. EFTV also needs to be able to support its normal programming in the next year, such as vision screenings, the robotics team, and Spanish in elementary school, in addition to meeting COVID-specific needs.
The online auction, available at www.32auctions.com/HideandShine2020, offers over 45 packages, most of which are experiences rather than items, valued at $70,000. Bidders can win a river float, a custom cake, rounds of golf, an intimate catered dinner, a romantic weekend stay, a painting session with a professional artist, a backcountry yurt stay, and other unique valley experiences. Walker encourages people to bid over the value of the items, because the extra donation to EFTV is tax deductible. Bidding closes at 7 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 22.
EFTV is still holding its annual Shop for Schools day on Saturday, Dec. 5, during which participating local businesses and restaurants donate a portion of sales to education. Walker said she has been happily surprised by the generosity of businesses despite their economic challenges this year.
“We’re soliciting for Shop for Schools right now and people are saying, ‘Yeah, sign me up,’ without hesitating,” Walker said. “We know a lot of people have been affected by this but we are so appreciative of this community’s giving spirit. We’ll be encouraging shoppers to respect a business’s safety measures or buy gift certificates that day.”
She added that all funds raised through EFTV events go directly to schools; the Tin Cup Challenge covers the nonprofit’s operating costs. Last month the foundation was able to award 14 grants totaling $9,000 to educators in order to spark innovation in the classroom.
“Classroom grants are a way to keep life as normal as possible for teachers,” Walker said. “These programs keep the kids excited and rejuvenate the teachers.”
Priority was given to grants that could serve students whether they’re learning at school or at home. Some of the awards included algebra tiles, solar energy cars, Spanish books, gardening curriculum, and funding to send high schoolers to the Model UN conference in Jackson.
To learn more about EFTV programming or to donate, visit tetoneducation.org.