Kick Up Your Boots in Support of Education
Writer // Janelle Morrison Photography // Courtesy of Zionsville Education Foundation
The Zionsville Education Foundation (ZEF) is proud to host Barn Bash 2018 at its new location, The Golf Club of Indiana’s Cardinal Room on November 10. The annual fundraiser is presented by Barnes and Thornburg and is supported by several local businesses and volunteers.
ZEF is funded by donations from individuals, small business partners and corporate sponsors. It works to directly impact kids, teachers, classrooms and schools. Since its founding in 1995, ZEF has awarded more than $1.2 million in classroom, professional development and student enrichment grants.
“Our fall fundraiser has always been our largest fundraiser and is incredibly important to us in terms of our ability to fund the Classroom, Imagine Professional Development and Student Enrichment grants,” shared COO Lyle Browne. “We do other events throughout the year as well, but this [Barn Bash] is our main fundraising vehicle.”
Browne shared that the previous venue had been a wonderful location for Barn Bash, but the ever-growing popularity of the event forced the planning committee to move to its new location at the Golf Club of Indiana to support that increase in attendance.
She also shared more details about the different grants that are funded by the proceeds from Barn Bash and how they impact Zionsville Community Schools’ teachers and students.
“Our Classroom Grants fund innovation in the classroom,” Browne explained. “They are the way for a teacher to try a new project and for him or her to take a great idea and bring it to fruition. He or she writes a grant, then we fund that great idea. A great example is the ZMS Press Magazine. The idea began with publishing the 7th graders’ writings, so they would go through the entire creating and editing processes. It [the project] turned into a full-fledged club at the school, and it is completely student-driven and student-run. It’s fun to watch those innovative ideas grow.”
Browne described the Imagine Professional Development grants as being the way that teachers can continue their educational development and share their knowledge with their colleagues, strengthening the existing collaborative environment among the district’s educators.
“We call these grants our Imagine Professional Development grants because we want our teachers to keep growing and keep learning. Just as we teach our kids to be lifelong learners, we want our teachers to be lifelong learners as well.”
The Student Enrichment grants are awarded to school-sanctioned groups, and ZEF provides matching funds for that group. An example of one of these grants was the $2,000 match that was awarded to the ZCHS Quiz Bowl team who raised $2,000, so they could travel to Washington, D.C., and compete in the national championship.
ZEF is able to provide these innovative and spectacular grants because of the generosity of its sponsors and support that it receives from the local business community.
“We always welcome sponsors,” Browne expressed. “Our relationship with the business community and merchants in Zionsville is one of the most rewarding parts of my job. To see the generosity of our businesses and merchants is amazing, and we treasure those partnerships. They go a long way in helping us reach our goals.”
Zionsville residents Amy Essley and Kim Lewis are co-chairing this year’s Barn Bash. Both Essley and Lewis expressed their desire and dedication to ensuring that this year’s event will be another epic evening for supporters of ZEF and for parents who are looking forward to an evening out without the kids!
“Last year was the first year that I was involved with ZEF,” Lewis said. “Lyle asked me to sit on the Barn Bash committee, and the experience was an eyeopener for me. Before that, I didn’t know that much about ZEF and all that it does. The Barn Bash is a really fun event. How often do you get to put on cowboy boots and go dance? This year, I was asked to co-chair the event along with Amy, and we are looking to continue to increase the attendance this year. We are hoping to have over 400 people attend. In terms of other goals for this year, we are continuing to educate people about what ZEF does and raise funds for all of the grants. As a parent, any chance that you get to attend a fun night out with other parents is a wonderful thing.”
In addition to a live auction, silent auction and a casual night out to don your favorite boots and flannels, Barn Bash will have live entertainment. Dancing and denim are highly encouraged!
Co-chair Essley, the newest member of the ZEF Board of Directors, is encouraging folks who want to come to this fall’s biggest and most amazing party in Zionsville to buy their tickets early before prices go up after Fall Break.
“We really try to make the evening a party that is both casual and fun,” Essley emphasized. “We didn’t want this to be a sit-down, formal fundraiser but an event where people want to dance, wear hats and socialize. We want people from all of the Zionsville schools to come out, mix and mingle and have fun. We will have a wine pull and gift card wheel in addition to a really fun band. We are encouraging people to buy their tickets early because the prices will go up after Fall Break.”
For more information and to purchase tickets for Barn Bash 2018, visit zionsvilleeducationfoundation.org.