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Front row seated left to right: Bev Fudge, Heather Anderson, JoEllen DiMartino, Angela Kneebone, Margaret Knass. (Back row) Nancy Liss, Teri Searles, Amanda Erschen, Stacy Reid, Tom DiMartino, Barb Austin, Angie McIntyre and Cori Korn.

Over the last 30 years, one organization has raised more than $4 million for the Lawrence Township Public Schools. During that time more than 300,000 students in one of the largest school district in the state have benefited from the additional funding that resulted.

The Lawrence Township School Foundation, marking its 30-year anniversary, has big plans in store for 2014. The organizers of the 14th annual “Light Their Future” Celebration hope to have 600 guests and raise $100,000. The event is the largest fundraiser on the Foundation’s yearly calendar.

“It’s a springboard not only for fundraising but also for building community and encouraging camaraderie and cooperation,” says volunteer “Light Their Future” Celebration Director, Barb Austin, “all the things you would want in your school community.”

The “Light Their Future” Celebration will be held on February 28 at The Fountains in Carmel, located at 502 E. Carmel Dr. The evening begins at 6 pm with cocktails and silent auction. The festivities continue with dinner at 8 pm followed by a live auction and dancing. The sounds of Greta Speaks will entertain the guests throughout the evening while the guests mix and mingle with the school community.

The organizers expect to see many of the principals, other school administrators, and members of the parent/faculty organizations, Austin said. Each of the 20 Township’s schools, which serve students from pre-kindergarten through high school and have a student population of around 15,000, will be represented at the annual fundraiser.

The Foundation sponsors programs that benefit all schools, said Heather Anderson, Communication Coordinator. Thanks to the generosity of the community, the Foundation is able to help fund high school tutoring centers, a middle and high school college prep and mentoring program, the Early Learning Center and elementary school programs supporting a healthy body healthy mind, along with other programs.

Preparing for the “Light Their Future” Celebration is a community wide effort. Austin is joined by two honorary chairs this year: Tom Britt, atGeist.com publisher, and Brett Crousore, principal of Lawrence North High School.

Community Health Network, Cannon IV, Simon Property Group and Crown Hill Funeral Home are among the business sponsors. Monarch Beverage Company. will provide beer and wine for the evening.

During these final weeks before the Celebration, the organizers are still hard at work finalizing sponsors, gathering auction items, and selling tables. “The community is always very generous in supporting this event,” says Austin.

“We eat, drink and dream the Celebration but, it is worth it,” Anderson says.

Tickets for the “Light Their Future” Celebration are $90 per person for the general public and $65 per person for Lawrence Township employees. Purchasing information is available on the Foundation’s website, msdltf.org. Registration closes Feb. 14.

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