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Education foundation gears up for Ski Plano
Photo courtesy of Craig Engle -- The live auction is one of the highlights of Ski Plano. The fundraiser will return to Southfork Ranch for its 17th year Jan. 26.
The Plano ISD Foundation's largest fundraiser of the year certainly has grown since its humble beginnings.
Seventeen years ago, the first Ski Plano was held in a supporter's living room. Last year, the event brought 800 supporters to Southfork Ranch and featured silent and live auctions, live music and dancing, and emceeing by Tony Award-winning actor and Plano grad John Benjamin Harris.
This year, the foundation expects a similar turnout this year on Jan. 26 at Southfork Ranch, and hopes to match last year's benchmark of $200,000 raised for Plano ISD programs.
Mabrie and Marshall Jackson will be this year's emcees. Ski Plano Chair Kathy Schell said their experience in the district and community will "bring a lot to the event."
"Mabrie and Marshall both grew up in Plano schools," Schell said. "In fact, they met in the 2nd grade at Shepard Elementary School. They've lived here all this time and they're raised two boys in the district. ... They're both very well-known in the community, and a lot of fun too."
Schell said she has been speaking to PTA councils, schools, realtor groups and the district's parent-comprised key communicators group to drum up interest in this year's fundraiser.
"Right now we're close to 600 (tickets), but with this event -- as with most events in Collin County -- the last two weeks is when a lot of people make their reservations," she said. "We're right on track where we were last year, at this point."
The same musicians who performed last year -- teacher band Custer's Last Stand and Mars Hill -- will return this year, and auction items will include the opportunity to drive a different Lexus every month for a year and trips to Costa Rica, Napa Valley and New Orleans.
"One thing that makes us really a little bit different and special -- the guys especially like it -- is the event is casual," she said. "So you come in your after-ski clothes, which usually means jeans and sweaters, and they don't have get dressed up to be there."
Mitch Bramlett, president of the Plano ISD Education Foundation, said the event has grown over the years to one of the premier nonprofit fundraisers in the city.
This year's event is especially significant due to the district's reduction in state funding in recent years and the foundation's intention to support the district academy programs set to launch in August, Bramlett said. Funds raised from the event usually comprise about 15 percent of the foundation's budget, he said.
"Everybody who comes usually wants to come back, and again I think its that environment; it's the fact that people feel really good about coming out and supporting Plano ISD," he said. "It's just a really fun environment, and certainly at the foundation we're very grateful for the support we get from our sponsors and ... the people that turn out in big numbers for the event."
Tickets for Ski Plano will be available through Jan. 23. To purchase tickets or for information, visit pisd.edu/about.us/foundation/ski.plano.shtml.
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