SchoolPower, Laguna Beach’s Education Foundation, hosted its 35th Annual Dinner Dance Shine on February 8 at Montage Laguna Beach. Chaired by Tim Bina and Gorjana Reidel, the event grossed over $350,000 for Laguna Beach schools.

After a festive cocktail reception, SchoolPower President Allison Motherway welcomed over 300 guests in the ballroom under a canopy of lights. Both attendees and supporters from home bid furiously on unique silent auction items, including a signed edition of “All the Light We Cannot See,” glamping at Zion National Park, VIP access to Magic Castle, and jewelry pieces from Fredric H. Rubel. The successful live auction culminated in a bidding frenzy for an Angel Stadium suite at Monster Jam, donated by John Carpino of the Angels Baseball Foundation.

New to this year’s event was the opportunity for supporters to contribute directly to teacher grants. Through mobile bidding, participants helped fund five teacher grants for equipment for the El Morro kindergarten playground, magnet kits for elementary STEM labs, student support workshops at Thurston Middle School, books for English and foreign language classroom libraries, and training clinics and equipment for LBHS golf, lacrosse, cross country, track, and swim teams.

“I was blown away by the level of commitment that so many parents and residents showed to our schools,” said first-time attendee and kindergarten parent Christina Rayburn. “I feel very fortunate to be part of a community that consistently puts such a strong emphasis on public education, and I know my three boys will be better for it.”

The 2020 Fund-a-Need Future Ready raised $175,000 from widespread participation in the room. Greg and Barbara MacGillivray kicked off the giving with a generous gift of $10,000 to support the FLOW (Fire, Land, Ocean, Water) MegaGrant, an inquiry-based project that will introduce high school students to important local and global environmental issues. One hundred percent of the funds raised will go toward the MegaGrant, as well as continued funding for Digital Literacy at the elementary and middle schools and expansion of the Advanced Exploratory Research (AER) class and mentorship program at LBHS.

“To be able to move forward with our vision for interdisciplinary environmental education at LBHS is the fulfillment of a long-standing dream,” says LBHS teacher David Brobeck, who applied for the MegaGrant with fellow English teacher Sarah Benson. “We are overwhelmed by the outpouring of generosity from the community.”

By the end of the night, guests and organizers proudly achieved SchoolPower’s fundraising goal. “We are thrilled with the success of this year’s event,” says SchoolPower Executive Director Sarah Durand. “From the event space, service and cuisine at the Montage to the guests’ incredible generosity, it certainly was an extraordinary evening to benefit Laguna students.”