Go Big, Go Dodgers

FDCS Foundation to host its annual fundraiser

-Messenger photo by Hans Madsen Catherine Casey, of Fort Dodge, carefully pulls out one of the sticks while playing a game of Kerplunk with her husband Merv during the annual Go Big, Go Dodgers fundraiser held at Fort Frenzy. Proceeds from the event benefit the Fort Dodge Community School District students and staff by helping to fund needs not covered by the regular school budget.

Organizations like the Fort Dodge Community Schools Foundation play an important role in helping to fund educational materials within a school system, according to Molly Nelson, the director of the FDCS Foundation.

“Foundations are more vital than ever across the nation to help enhance education in the schools,” Nelson said.

With that in mind, the Fort Dodge Community Schools Foundation is hosting its biggest fundraiser of the year on Friday night.

Go Big, Go Dodgers will be held at Fort Frenzy from 6 p.m. to 11 p.m.

In past years, the fundraiser has brought in about $50,000.

-Messenger photo by Hans Madsen Vera and Howard Hartman, of Fort Dodge, look over some of the silent auction items available Saturday evening at the annual Go Big, Go Dodgers fundraiser for the Fort Dodge Community School District.

“This is the opportunity for the community to help enhance education in our schools,” Nelson said. “What donors do is give back to the community, not only for kids in the Fort Dodge school system, but I really think for the community as a whole.”

She added, “When we are looking at expanding in this community and becoming one of the best places to live and work in the Midwest, people are going to ask about housing and schools. The strength of the schools is a question people have when they come here and we want to do things that make our schools the strongest in the Midwest and add things that district funding quite frankly can’t add. The budgets are strained.”

Tickets for the fundraiser are $40. Tickets can be purchased at fdcsfoundation.org or by calling 574-5327.

New this year is the addition of live music.

Brad and Kate, a married music duo, will be performing.

“It’s easy listening music,” Nelson said. “They put on an awesome show.”

Big games such as giant Jenga, a live auction, food and a cash bar will also be offered.

“We are doing to try and make it an experience that’s really fun,” Nelson added.

Metal benches made by students in the Fort Dodge Senior High industrial technology program will be auctioned off.

Those have a special connection to the foundation, according to Nelson.

“Those metal benches are being made on metal working machinery that was granted to Andy Kavanaugh,” she said.

Kavanaugh is an industrial technology instructor at FDSH.

Nelson said about $9,000 has been invested in the high school’s industrial technology program.

“It’s not just Chromebooks,” she said. “The foundation likes to fund all different kinds of things. Metal working machinery has career readiness skills that students can learn. There’s a demand for skilled trade workers in our state right now. We are proud to fund the metal working machinery, but then it’s really cool that the benches made by those students are coming back to our fundraiser so we can auction them off for more money to go back to the school foundation.”

Since 2011, the foundation has granted more than $333,000 to schools in the FDCSD.

Nelson said some of the funds helped the district reach a 1:1 ratio for Google Chromebooks to students.

“The school paid for a lot of that itself, but the foundation kicked in about $120,000 to make that happen.” she said.

Funds raised from this year’s event could be used in a variety of areas.

“The process is needs-based by the educators,” Nelson said. “They apply for a grant, an idea they have for their classroom, but the funds aren’t there. Then the foundation board gets the amazing job of granting out the appropriations that are needed.”