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New hands bring subtle changes to Sharing of the Green fundraiser

  • The theater department at Lawrence Jones Middle School entertained the crowd at the Education Foundation of Cotati-Rohnert Park's annual Sharing of the Green fundraiser held Saturday, March 11, at the Doubletree Hotel in Rohnert Park. Photo courtesy of Kayla Sorci

By: Dave Williams
March 17, 2017

There were some subtle differences at this year’s Sharing of the Green event than in previous years, but those who attended, as they have in the past, enjoyed themselves.

One difference is the group organizing the event. Gone are past Education Foundation of Cotati-Rohnert Park President Vera Blanquie and her crew. And in are current President Jim Curry and his team, which includes Education Foundation board member Crissy Knox. Actually, Curry and Knox are not new to the Education Foundation, but this is their first year at the helm of this event.

Another change from last year was the manner in which bids were taken for the silent auction. Instead of patrons writing down their bids on a sheet of paper by the item they wanted, bids were automated via electronical tablets.

“The automated bidding system may have been a little challenging because it was a new aspect to the event,” Knox said. “I think we’ll evaluate electronic bidding to see if there’s a learning curve and if we think that it’s possible to do again or if we want to go back to paper bidding.”

The idea for automated bidding came from Curry, who saw it done at another event and felt it may be a nice feature at the Sharing of the Green, which is the Education Foundation’s primary fundraiser and provides a night for many to dress to the nines.

“I think the night went really well…it ran pretty smoothly,” said Knox, who was a driving force behind planning the event because of her background as an event planner.

Most importantly, the Sharing of the Green focused more on exactly who benefits from the Education Foundation’s efforts – the local schools.

The drama department from Lawrence Jones Middle School gave a rousing performance before the dinner portion of the evening. And what made Knox proud was those in attendance saw tangible evidence of where the money or donations go.

“The Lawrence Jones students were using wireless microphones, which were donated by the Education Foundation,” she said. “We definitely want to continue with the children incorporated into the program.”

The schools also contributed to the decorations, as the centerpieces on each table were produced by students in the Cotati-Rohnert Park Unified School District. The centerpieces also were sold.

“We really liked how the schools created the centerpieces because it drew awareness to the event and what it’s about,” Knox said. “Teachers were inquiring about how much the centerpieces brought in for donations. One good thing was we didn’t have to spend money to buy centerpieces this year.”

The Education Foundation is still tabulating the amount collected for this year’s Sharing of the Green. While this event brings in the most dollars, the Education Foundation will continue to raise funds for the school system via the Friday Night Farmers Market during the summer and by helping out at the Cotati Accordion Festival, which is the largest cash donors for the foundation. There’s also an event in the summer at the Montgomery Village concert series.