Written by Phil Cerroni
By Alice Canham
Bid on a chance to go one-on-one with Santa? That’s just one of the auction items that will be available at the Irving Schools Foundation (ISF) Legacy Gala. The annual event, to be held Oct. 5 at the Four Seasons Resort in Las Colinas, is the premier fundraiser for ISF. All monies raised through the Gala will go towards science, technology, engineering and math programs in the Irving Independent School District. Any additional monies will help teachers to improve their skills through a grants program.
Crystal Scanio serves as Executive Director for the nonprofit. Her team came up with the innovative idea for a pre-Gala auction party, with auction item donations serving as each guest’s admission. With about 30 guests in attendance, the party was held Aug. 7 at i Fratelli in Las Colinas.
“We’ve received quite a few items from country clubs in the area,” Scanio said. “Golf, overnight stays and massage packages. Glory House contributed a $100 gift certificate. Fluor gave a laptop.
“We received a rocking chair from Linda Harper-Brown that has the state emblem on it and a plaque that has her name.”
She paused and lifted a final trophy from the pile of donations.
“And a baseball signed by Rafael Palmeiro!”
Merriott Terry, executive Director of Ignite Texas said the baseball came from her husband’s collection of memorabilia.
“We were asked to bring something valued at $100 or more,” said Terry. “My husband, Jack, wanted to help, so he offered this baseball, since he said it had to be somebody from the Texas Rangers, and Raffie has the most hits. I told him he’d better write that down because I’m not a baseball nut.
“I do have a passion for education, though. My organization offers after school programs for minority girls to help them find their voice and prepare to run for office. I wanted to partner with ISF because we already have a presence at North Hills and Singley Academy.”
But back to Santa. Patrick Shields is his nom de Claus, and he’s a big believer in children.
“Donating a Santa visit, posing for pictures and raising money for organizations like this – I like to do that,” Shields said. “My daughter is a school counselor in Irving at Good Elementary, and my son-in-law teaches music. Through them, I learned that school districts need so many things that can’t be funded. This foundation helps meet that need.”
Development Chair Christina Gears told the group that they’d already received pledges and gifts totaling $170,000, with a fundraising goal of $250,000.
“We look forward to going over our goal and actually netting $250,000,” she said.
Donation items are still being accepted and sponsored tables are available. To learn more about the Gala and Irving Schools Foundation, contact Crystal Scanio at 972.600.5018 or log onto www.irvingisd.net/foundation.