The Monroe County Education Foundation, which raises funds for the Take Stock in Children scholarship and mentoring program, held its annual Donors Forum Tuesday at the Tennessee Williams Theatre. The theme this year was "Be Prepared to be Impressed," according to John Padget, president of the foundation.
"We introduced our 2013 seniors, heard their amazing stories, and learned their dreams," Padget said. "We are celebrating our 13th year, and hosted friends of Take Stock in Children (TSiC), including students, their parents, mentors and donors to the forum."
"This is my first years as the county coordinator for Take Stock," said Leslie Holmes. "It was great to see so many mentors and donors showing their support for our seniors as they get ready to graduate and leave for college."
Padget pronounced himself pleased with the turnout on Tuesday.
"Bringing students and donors together is the key to our successful fundraising," he said. "Our goal is to maximize a state grant allocation due in February, which matches the funds we raise."
Named Scholar Donors for 2012 included: Community Blood Centers of South Florida, the Edward B. Knight Foundation, Florida Keys Electric Cooperative, Keys Children's Foundation, Ocean Reef Foundation, John R. Padget, the James Parrish Estate, Jean and Clark Shannon, John N. Taylor Jr., the Monroe County Sheriff's Office and the Upper Keys Rotary.
Education Foundation board member Steve Pribramsky stressed the financial obstacles facing students and those helping to raise money for their scholarships.
"The cost of the Florida prepaid contracts that we purchase has increased dramatically in the last three years," Pribramsky said. "But the good news is that for $16,541.42 we enable one Monroe County student to attend college, with four years of tuition and fees fully paid." Pribramsky is chairman of the fund-raising effort this year.
"All donations are double-matched, first by the leadership donors in the county, and then once again by Florida's Prepaid College Foundation," he said.
Padget described the mission of Take Stock in Children.
"Our job is to break the cycle of poverty through education, one child at a time -- and we're doing it," he said.
Additional forum events will take place today at the Upper Keys home of Ron Levy and Beth Kamenstein, and on Feb. 11 at the Marathon home of Mario and Margitta Di Gennaro.
For more information about Take Stock in Children, call 305-293-1546 or email Leslie.Holmes@keysschool.com.