Does a night out get much better than this: great food and drink shared with friends and neighbors at a festive gathering that also supports education in the local schools? Multiply that by 40 to 60 parties being held across our two towns and you’ve got the Achieve Foundation’s Night of 100 Dinners!

Achieve will hold the 13th 100 Dinners event, its largest annual fundraiser, on Saturday, March 4. Local residents host parties to raise awareness of and money for the foundation’s programs that have a direct impact on students in all South Orange and Maplewood District schools. Hosts donate their party costs to Achieve, in-kind, and, in lieu of a bottle of wine or hostess gift, guests contribute $50 per person (or more) in support of Achieve to attend.

The Achieve Foundation is currently seeking hosts for this year’s event. Last year, 62 hosts and co-hosts held 44 parties, invited over 1,200 guests, and raised nearly $70,000. Proceeds helped support 71 classroom grants, professional development for 12 teachers, volunteer tutors for 315 students and STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, the Arts, and Math) initiatives like the Maker Madness event, and more.

Sign Up for E-News

“The number of 100 Dinners hosts and parties has increased steadily over the past 13 years. More than 300 families have held parties, some for multiple years. People look forward to this truly unique community event that brings people together to do something good for our schools,” said Heather Truscinski, one of this year’s co-chairs.

Hosts provide the location and food and create a guest list. Achieve takes care of sending and tracking invitations and collecting donations. It’s fun, easy, and rewarding. The parties can be whatever the host chooses - informal to formal. Past events have included sit-down dinners for six to 86 guests, a children’s tea, a Mardi Gras party, wine tastings, yoga or spin parties and a progressive dinner capped off by dancing.

“Themes are fun, but hosts shouldn’t feel compelled to be creative,” said Christine Houseworth, co-chair of the event. “It’s just as nice just to have friends and neighbors over to enjoy a meal, knowing that the proceeds will be used to enhance education for the children and teachers in our public schools. Guests also get to hear the personal account of a teacher who stops by at the party to tell about an innovative project he or she has carried out using Achieve funds.”  

The Achieve Foundation is a volunteer-based, non-profit organization that raises private funds to promote exemplary public education for all students and educators in the South Orange & Maplewood public schools. Achieve supports educator grants and professional development, volunteer tutors and district-wide initiatives. Achieve has invested over $1.8 million in the schools since 1999. The 2017 Night of 100 Dinners Top Chef sponsor is Allison Ziefert of Keller Williams Midtown Direct Realty.

Parents, retirees, alumni, businesses… all are welcome to host. Have your own party, co-host with friend, persuade friends to host and invite you, or be an event sponsor! Sign up to host at http://tinyurl.com/Night100Dinners, donate at http://4elbows.formstack.com/forms/nhd_registration, e-mail 100dinners@achievefoundation.org, or call 973-378-2055 to learn more.