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The Dearborn Education Foundation Puts the Fun Into Fundraising

By Pamela Sosnowski

Without a local education foundation, many school systems would suffer. Budgets can often only pay for so much, foundation's help fill the gap for needed school materials and projects.The Dearborn school system has a partner in the Dearborn Education Foundation (DEF.) Ever since its inception in 1992, the non-profit has raised over $1.7 million for the Dearborn public school system. The money has helped purchase books, musical instruments, computers, microscopes, athletic equipment, and other needed materials for students.

DEF organizes three main fundraising events for the public each year: the FORE (Funding Opportunities and Resources in Education) golf outing, a Green Tie dinner, and a Mardi Gras party. Says Eddie Fakhoury, DEF's Executive Director, "What makes these fundraisers successful is the supportive community we have here in Dearborn. Without our board, volunteers, businesses and community partners we would not be able to supplement the Dearborn Public Schools with the technology and equipment they need. The foundation's fundraising efforts have provided over $125,000 in grants this last school year alone and provides scholarships to students."

The Mardi Gras celebration in particular is always a big hit with the local community, with masks and beads provided to guests as well as food and live music. The golf outing offers several levels of sponsorships and admission tickets for everyone, whether an attendee wants to enjoy lunch during the event or participate in the tournament.

DEF has the support of several local businesses and city officials to make these fundraising events successful. Ford Motor Company, AXA Financial, and local banks have donated funds to help offset the school district's budget. Mayor John B. O'Reilly will co-chair this year's annual FORE golf outing, and alumni have created endowments that provide funds to the schools.

In addition to organizing several events for the public and local businesses, DEF offers several charities for Dearborn students to get involved in, such as the Martian Marathon, the Mutt Strut, and Friends for the Dearborn Animal Shelter. "Regardless of (the) focus of study, our students gain a great sense of citizenship and giving back," says Fakhoury. "We routinely send our graduates to Harvard, Yale and other ivy league schools. No matter what a student's post K-12 plans, they have a sense of belonging that we don't witness very often."

DEF also welcome monetary and asset contributions and many volunteers for its events, which presents opportunities for the public to play a role in the foundation's success. "What makes these fundraisers successful is the supportive community we have here in Dearborn," says Fakhoury. "The community's commitment to the education of our future workforce is concrete; everyone sees the sustainability of our neighborhoods and industry by supporting local public education!"

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About The Author

Pamela Sosnowski is a freelance writer, social media manager, contributor for REBEAT...

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