MILLBURN, NJ - Short Hills resident and President of the Board of Trustees for the Education Foundation, Jonathan Justice, sat down with The Alternative Press to talk about the mission of this local organization as well as the tremendous events, fundraisers and the contributions that the Education Foundation has been making to the Millburn school district.  According to Mr. Justice, while the Education Foundation has been strong for the past 20 years, over the last year, with the appointment of a board of trustees, and well as the tireless efforts of the leadership and many committee members, the Foundation has escalated its efforts and funds to entirely new levels.

“The Education Foundation of Millburn-Short Hills is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year.  Thanks to the hard work of our past presidents, and most recently the tremendous accomplishments of our current co-Presidents, Amy Talbert and Debbie Rieder, we feel the Foundation is ready to take the next steps towards having a continuous and lasting impact on the educational resources of our school system.  These steps are: 1) increasing our annual fundraising revenues each year; and 2) establishing an Endowment Fund and growing that fund to a level capable of providing sustainable income for the Foundation and/or being a funding source for major capital projects," Justice said.

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"While we live in a community that already benefits from an outstanding school system, the fact is that the routine expenses of maintaining and operating the schools are ever-growing; as such, the ‘maintenance’ expenses of the system nudge out progressive spending that could bring more learning innovations and opportunities to the students.  While the Foundation doesn’t exist to plug holes in our school budget, we do exist to provide funding for programs and technology that enrich the students’ collective experience and preserve the excellence in education for which our schools are known.  In short, the Foundation believes that the future of successful public education is a commitment to a public-private co-op that funds the schools through a combination of tax revenues and private sector contributions,” Justice said.

The co-presidents, Amy Talbert and Debbie Rieder told The Alternative Press that while The Education Foundation is consistently hard at work on their fundraising and donation efforts, this year with the 20th Anniversary and some new events and fundraisers, the Foundation and its volunteers are busier than ever.

Each year the Millburn Schools Rock Gala is a highlight for local residents who attend this annual function.  In 2012 the event raised over $136,000.  This year, the event is sold out with tickets being sold to 600 local residents, and many more who were disappointed to learn that the event had reached capacity and they would not be able to attend.  The funds raised have been used to purchase technology, equipment, programs and teacher training. This year’s event is being held at Crestmont Country Club on March 8.

Additionally, the committee members are hosting a 50/50 raffle for the first time this year in order to celebrate their 20th anniversary. Tickets are being sold through the elementary schools, online at: efmsh.mybigcommerce.com/50-50-tickets/ and at various events throughout town.   Tickets are $20 a piece or $100 for a book of 5.  The Drawing will be held at Millburn Schools Rock Gala on March 8.  The winner will receive 50% of all proceeds from the 50/50 up to $100,000.   

Ms. Rieder stated, “We are always trying to find innovative ways to raise funds for our students.  This raffle is truly a win/win and a great way to celebrate our 20th anniversary." For more information about the 50/50 raffle, contact  Sheila Bouri at Edfoundation5050@gmail.com