By Grace Bennett
In the midst of another packed gala for the Chappaqua School Foundation–with a silent auction and a delicious dinner underway–I managed to steal away CSF president David Gefsky to a quiet spot to talk for a few minutes. He spoke proudly, in particular, of the educational showcase in progress too at the gala, where about a dozen kids from the district “displayed projects that were made possible by some of the investments over the last year, inspired by teachers, and driven for the benefit of the students.”
The CSF fosters innovation, Gefsky explained, “working in close partnership and collaboration with teachers and administrators enabling them to recognize their creative capacities.” The CSF then raises the money to make that innovation possible.
“We make possible necessary investments that fall outside the normal school budget,” said Gefsky. A Grant Advisory Committee, comprised of teachers, administrators and technology leaders, “help define educational goals and evaluate and assess investment opportunities.”
In the meantime, CSF actively engages with the community for ideas–planning numerous events in which parents are involved. “We constantly speak with parents as groups and on an individual basis; their feedback is instrumental to us in terms of how we set priorities and how we ultimately invest capital.”
Gefsky, together with his wife Jennifer Gefsky, are parents of three children in the district themselves, in grades 7, 5 and kindergarten. He said that heading into the fall, the programming schedule is primarily designed to raise awareness of CSF goals. These include a Mom’s night event, a Dad’s event, CSF participation at Community Day, and a pre-K event for families new to the district. Notable too is The Harlem Wizards game, the second largest fundraiser for CSF, after the gala.
While the dollars raised was not available just yet, this year’s gala, held again at the Trump National Golf Club in Briarcliff Manor, set a record for ticket sales: over 630 tickets sold. Last year, CSF raised $368,000 at the gala, and a total of $433,000 over the year, and Gefsky said his hope was to surpass those numbers too.
For more information, visit www.chappaquaschoolfoundation.org