As school budgets tighten, new sources of income have become necessary to continue to provide important programs and services. The Upper Darby Arts & Education Foundation is a nonprofit corporation formed to improve the quality of educational and cultural programs in the Upper Darby School District. The Foundation provides a means for those who support our schools to contribute directly to the educational programs offered to our students.
We’ve been busy at the Upper Darby Arts & Education Foundation (UDAEF)! This is always an important time of year for us, because our January and February fundraising efforts help set the tone for the remainder of the year. As we count down the last days of February 2015 — and look back at our many recent successes — we can say with certainty that we’re off to a strong start this year!
Together with the community, we have thrown a smashing party, celebrated (and enjoyed) the many musical talents of our Upper Darby students, honored inspirational leaders who have made a tangible difference, and raised much-needed funding for a broad range of educational programs.
Here’s a quick peek at some of our most newsworthy achievements so far this year:
The theme of this year’s UDAEF Gala, hosted on January 17, was "Heroes Live Forever" in honor of the many men and women who inspire our youth and help keep them safe. The gala audience, who filled the Upper Darby Performing Arts Center, enjoyed a wide range of musical performances by students of all ages, including fifth grader Jayden Thoumma, who wowed the audience with his impressive drum solo, and 2015 Grammy Camp saxophone soloist, Upper Darby High School Senior Immanuel Wilkins. Toward the end of the evening, students were joined on-stage by many local heroes, including fireman, police officers, and military service professionals."As part of the preparation for the Gala, students were invited to write letters to their own personal heroes, and several students read their letters to the Gala audience," said Jennifer Schoener, Executive Director, UDAEF. "It was a moving experience for all, and a wonderful opportunity for the students to pay tribute to the individuals who have made an important and positive impact in their lives." The Gala raised $53,000, which will be used to support new educational programs in Upper Darby.
UDAEF supporters with a sweet tooth AND dancing shoes found their groove at "A Sweet Night" on Saturday, February 7, 2015. Attendees enjoyed a cocoa–infused dinner buffet and chocolate bar at Drexelbrook, and danced the night away to Chico’s Vibe.At the event, the UDAEF honored Harry Dietzler with an "Acorn Award." Dietzler is the founder of the UDAEF, as well as the Executive Director of the Upper Darby Summer Stage community theater program. "The ‘Acorn Award’ is given to individuals who have made a huge impact in our success at the UDAEF, and we can think of no better recipient than Harry Dietzler—for all he has accomplished in building our mission and foundation and in his tireless efforts to ensure that the children of this community have a brighter future," said Schoener.
This past fall, the UDAEF began publicizing the BRAVO Award as part of our K–2 Literacy Initiative.
"The BRAVO Award is a way to say ‘thank you’ and to recognize a person in the Upper Darby School District who has made a difference in your life, inspired your child to succeed, or gone out of their way to assist you," said Schoener. "The person can play any part in the huge stage of the School District – teacher, principal, bus driver, cafeteria worker, office staff, security, crossing guard – ANYONE who you feel deserves public recognition for a job well-done."In honor of the first round of BRAVO awards, Schoener presented the first four recipients with their certificates at the Upper Darby School District Board Meeting on Tuesday, February 10. Recipients included: Nick Meehan, a Business Education teacher at Upper Darby High School and the advisor for the award-winning DECA program; Tim Blessington, a music teacher at Beverly Hills Middle School who teaches concert band, marching band, jazz ensemble, and orchestra; Anna Schneider, a music teacher at Drexel Hill Middle School who has taught young Upper Darby musicians for nearly three decades; and Dr. John Council, Principal of Highland Park Elementary School. To learn more about the recipients, or to nominate a new BRAVO Award winner, please Click Here. "We are blessed with a community filled with inspirational leaders and involved citizens, and as a result, the UDAEF will accomplish much in 2015," said Schoener. "As a team, we have achieved many successes already this year, but there is still much to be done. I encourage everyone to get involved – and to learn more about our many efforts to build a stronger future for our community’s students."
The Upper Darby Arts & Education Foundation is proud to announce that the technology initiative promoting 100% literacy in kindergarten through third grade classrooms as well as the MusicMan Camp have been accepted by the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development as eligible for EITC funding! This mean EITC eligible businesses can now receive tax credits for making financial contributions to these programs along with 5 other UDAEF supported programs:
Artist in Residence, Dual Enrollment, Advanced Placement Courses, Engineering Program and Robotics.
For more information on Educational Improvement Tax Credit, please click here.