SchoolPower, Laguna Beach’s Education Foundation, hosted its 34th Annual Dinner Dance Outside the Box on February 9 at The Ritz-Carlton, Laguna Niguel. Chaired by Gorjana Reidel and Gina Alshuler, the event grossed over $330,000 for Laguna Beach schools.

SchoolPower President Mike Houlahan welcomed over 300 guests, and announced that SchoolPower recently achieved the $500,000 fundraising goal of the Wave of Giving campaign that began in the Fall. Both attendees and supporters from home bid furiously on silent auction items, including a week-long stay in Deer Valley, a tour experience with the Dave Matthews Band, VIP passes to the Magic Castle, and jewelry pieces from Fredric H. Rubel. New to the live auction this year was a magnum of The Flight from legendary Screaming Eagle winery, donated by Stan Kroenke of the Los Angeles Rams.

“The Dinner Dance was such a fun and memorable night to celebrate and support our schools while also spending time with our friends!” said first-time attendee Keely Chism, who is the parent of three children in Laguna schools. “My husband and I are so thankful for our Laguna Beach community and school district.”

The 2019 Fund-a-Need Building Your Future Self, introduced by a compelling video, raised $175,850 in a matter of minutes. In the words of Superintendent Dr. Jason Viloria, “Tonight’s fund-a-need strives to create an environment where students get to know who they are–their strengths, their interests, their passions–and use this to build their future self.”

One hundred percent of the funds raised will go toward the initiative, which includes curriculum and online resources related to strengths finding and career exploration, new high school classes focused on advanced research and business entrepreneurship, and a mentor program that involves strengths coaching and industry visits to connect students with professionals in the Laguna Beach community and beyond.

During the program, SchoolPower recognized the Wilson family for their unprecedented support over the past 38 years. Dave Wilson spoke about the importance of supporting all students in public schools and announced an additional gift to bring the Wilson’s lifetime support for SchoolPower to $1 million!

“We are blown away by the generosity of Holly and Dave Wilson, year after year. The funds they have infused into our schools will have an impact on students for years to come,” says SchoolPower Executive Director Sarah Durand.