Event includes tours of Minnesota Vikings Museum
The District 196 Foundation has existed since 2008, but those who are involved with the organization believe the community needs to learn more about it.
The foundation hopes to increase awareness and raise funds toward its mission to eliminate barriers to learning with an inaugural event at the Minnesota Vikings Museum, according to Khia Brown, Rosemount-Apple Valley-Eagan School District director of community education and a foundation ex-officio board member.
“We want people to know who we are and we want them to know how we are different. We aren’t competing with other foundations, say, at Eagan High School or Eastview High School,” Brown said. “The 196 Foundation serves students across the district at all grade levels, pre-K through adults.”
The new event will take place from 7:30-10 p.m. Friday, Nov. 15, at the Vikings Museum, 2645 Vikings Circle in Eagan. Guests will be able to sample hors d’oeuvres. There will be a cash bar, live entertainment from Oake and Paine, and Bill Blatzheim along with tours of the Vikings Museum. Attendees can meet and talk with foundation board members and other leaders from District 196.
“We know there are great needs within our communities,” Brown said. “We’re looking to raise funds to help. Our mission is to eliminate barriers to learning. That’s what we’ll continue doing and work for after that night.”
Brown said the event will be the foundation’s first public fundraiser. In past years, many of the donations have come privately and have included contributions made by District 196 staff through the district’s 196 Gives program. The foundation began planning the event after the Minnesota Vikings expressed interest in supporting the organization by offering its museum space for events about two years ago.
According to an Oct. 28 presentation to the District 196 School Board, the foundation’s fundraising totals have grown in recent years. The foundation raised $18,762 in 2016-17, and that grew to $59,167 in 2018-19.
The foundation has three main areas of focus for working toward its mission: food security, reading proficiency and “band for all.”
Brown said under food security, the foundation works with the Sheridan Story to provide weekend food for students at all schools. According to the foundation, 13,440 meals were given in the 2018-19 school year.
The reading proficiency part involves providing 10 new books to elementary students who have been identified at schools. The intent is to help prevent a “summer slide” in reading, Brown said. The foundation says 7,867 books were handed out to students in 2018-19.
In the “bands for all” program, people can donate their used instruments. The foundation helps pay for the cost to have them refurbished. Those instruments are given to students in fifth through 12th grades who can’t afford to buy their own instrument or rent one, Brown said. The foundation said dozens of instruments were provided to students in 2018-19.
Tickets for the Nov. 15 fundraiser cost $40 per person and can be purchased at district196foundation.org. Attendees are encouraged to dress in business attire. For more information about the foundation, visit its website or contact Brown at firstname.lastname@example.org or 651-423-7720.
Patty Dexter can be reached at email@example.com.