The Santa Monica-Malibu Education Foundation isn’t going to generate $2 million in one day.
But it does hope to collect a substantial sum at its second annual Pier Party, a major fundraiser to support arts programming, personnel and other enrichment activities in local schools.
The event will be held from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday, April 26, at Pacific Park on the Santa Monica Pier, where members of the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District community and the general public are invited for games, rides, food and entertainment.
Last year’s Pier Party brought in close to $125,000 for the education foundation, which is in the midst of a $4-million fundraising campaign that ends June 30.
The centralized fundraising effort has sparked considerable debate among stakeholders about how donated money should be collected and distributed among the 16 campuses in the district.
Proceeds from the inaugural Pier Party are included in the $2.058 million that the foundation has raised since Feb. 1, 2014. SMMEF executive director Linda Greenberg said the one-time 17-month cycle is allowing her organization to align its fundraising efforts with the school year.
The previous fundraising campaign brought in $3.2 million, prompting the district Board of Education to cover the $800,000 shortfall. Supt. Sandra Lyon has warned that another shortfall could necessitate cuts to a variety of arts and enrichment programs.
That’s where the Pier Party comes in. The event will include a variety of children’s activities, including an art project organized by Venice-based nonprofit P.S. ARTS, interactive aquarium exhibits, face-painting and temporary tattoo art. Proceeds from pay-to-play games will support the education foundation.
“SMMEF’s work to raise funds and community awareness on behalf of SMMUSD students is vital,” Pacific Park CEO Mary Ann Powell said in a press release. “Pier Party is a wonderful, unique way for local businesses to actively better our community. Pacific Park enthusiastically supports SMMEF and is proud to partner in this district-wide event.”
All proceeds from the event’s Treats frozen yogurt sales will also be donated to the foundation. The Ocean Park Boulevard dessertery recently hosted the SMMEF drawing for a Pedego electric bicycle, which generated about $56,000 in contributions toward the SMMEF campaign.
SMMEF is also running an online auction as part of the festivities. Goods and services up for bid include hotel stays, cycling and dance classes, orthodontia, summer camps, wall portraits, music instruction, gift cards to local eateries and more.
Regular wristbands for the event cost $25 each or $100 for five. Level 2 wristbands are $50 and include a meal voucher and game card. VIP tickets for $125 include access to specially catered breakfast and lunch in the park pavilion. VIP tickets for $175 also include reserved parking.
Pacific Park will be open only to attendees with tickets, but the public is invited to attend and support the fundraiser.
To purchase tickets, visit www.pierparty.org. For more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call (310) 396-4557.
SMMEF is also looking for volunteers to help with setup, ticket sales, children’s activities, cleanup and other tasks. For more information, contact the foundation.
Contact Jeff Goodman at 310-573-8351, email@example.com or on Twitter.