NEW PROVIDENCE, NJ - The New Providence Education Foundation held its third annual Touchdown for Education on Saturday, January 21 at the William Paca Club in New Providence.  About 125 fans came out to support the foundation and mingle among friends and neighbors sporting their favorite team jersey. 

The guests purchased strips of tickets to participate in the basket raffles that included sports memorabilia, themed gift baskets, portrait packages, sporting team tickets, golf foursomes and much more. In addition, guests could go home a silent auction winner and participate in a Super Bowl pool to win a big screen Apple TV. 

The members of NPEF and their supporters raise and distribute monies for the schools each and every year. These grants are teacher-initiated, help supplement existing programs, and provide for new and innovative efforts, many of which would not otherwise be funded. "There has been trends over time, with technology when teachers were requesting iPads," said Gene Castagna, NPEF President. It depends on what the schools are funding and innovative educational programs that are otherwise not funded through traditional sources, he said.

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While grant request trends typically follow the district initiative, the NPEF can also tailor a grant to a department. This past fall, Brian McCoy, who was representing a group of young NPHS alumni, contacted the NPEF about a significant amount of funds they raised at a pre-Thanksgiving fundraising event and they wanted to donate to the NPEF to help special needs children. The NPEF facilitated a meeting and targeted the money to benefit the Special Education department.

Board Member Jenn Kowantz chaired the event with the help of Suzanne Botvinis and Anne McLane. Besides volunteering at the events, board members participate on various foundation committees and attend monthly Board meetings. When seeking new board members, the NPEF looks to fill positions with people that have special skills that fill the needs of the foundation. The foundation is always looking for new volunteer members to help.

Almost half of the funds raised by the NPEF are through business sponsorships that are prominently displayed at each of their events, and the balance of the funds are raised through their events that include the annual Strides 4 Students 5K Run, the March Mayhem Wizards Basketball Game and this Touchdown For Education social event. In addition, a letter is mailed to every resident of New Providence for their annual donation appeal.

"Supporting the NPEF is supporting the kids," said Mayor Al Morgan. "100 percent of the money goes back to the kids."

This past year, the NPEF donated $72,000 in grants, gifts and senior scholarships. "We try to give every cent we raise every year back to the schools," said Castagna.

Remember to "Save the Date for The Harlem Wizards - March 28th."

To learn more about the NPEF visit their website http://npedfoundation.org/.