Red Apple Gala again rises to the occasion for Park City Education Foundation | ParkRecord.com

Red Apple Gala again rises to the occasion for Park City Education Foundation

Supporters of public education in Park City came out in full force and did it again.

The Park City Education Foundation last month held its annual Red Apple Gala, which serves as one of its top fundraisers. The final tally: More than $400,000 raised, hundreds of students helped.

"It was one of our most successful galas," said Abby McNulty, executive director of the foundation. "It’s enormously important for the success of the programs that we support. This year, the foundation will invest over $1 million into our programs again, so the gala plays a big role in what we’re able to do."

The foundation changed up the format of the event this year. Rather than the money going into a general fund that is dispersed to Park City schools through a series of grants, attendees who opened their pocketbooks this year got to choose where their money went among three categories: reading, elementary visual arts and STEM (science, technology, engineering, math).

The goal was to make it more exciting and meaningful for attendees and ensure that key programs in those areas will continue to receive funding, McNulty said.

"We have a lot of programs that rely on the Education Foundation to be able to be offered every year," she said. "So this just helps us start the year knowing that next year we’re going to be able to provide these programs. It’s not a question."

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The Education Foundation began putting on the gala only a handful of years ago, but it’s quickly become an event that many residents in the community mark on their calendars months in advance. McNulty said the growing popularity of the event, which is held at Montage Deer Valley, is a testament to how highly residents in town value public education.

"It’s amazing," she said. "I am always incredibly appreciative of the community and of families and donors and supporters. We have a huge group of families that support our organization, through volunteering or donations or board membership, and it’s really inspiring. Every time we host an event, we have a conversation about how dedicated the community is to our students and public schools."

She added that those who donate at the gala have a big hand in the success of Park City Schools.

"What I think is most exciting for our organization is that parents really do have a voice in the education that students receive in Park City," she said. "The parent involvement makes a significant difference and has a large impact on kids."