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Donors, Sponsors Set New Record for Giving at the 2020 Northern Stars Celebration


Coon Rapids, MN - The Anoka-Hennepin Educational Foundation’s (AHEF) 25th annual Northern Stars Celebration on Saturday, February 8 was an unprecedented success, and raised a record $72,000 for Anoka-Hennepin students, schools and foundation.

“Once again, our donors went all in and we can’t thank them enough,” said Lynn Montgomery, event chair and board member for the AHEF. “We have such depth of support from our community, from our business sponsors and from within the district.  As a grandparent of two students in the district and as a volunteer, it’s very affirming.”

Over 300 guests filled the Bunker Hills Event Center to celebrate quality education in the district, bid on the silent and live auctions and hear outstanding music. A talented Andover High School string quartet, performed during dinner. The Blaine High School Jazz Band, directed by Mr. Bruce Olson, entertained guests with the amazing Kat Perkins. Mr. Rick Gabriel, retired educator, was the evening’s auctioneer with Ms. Laura Hendricks, assistant principal from Compass programs, assisting. Highlighting the evening, was Owen Baber, a fourth grader at Sunrise Elementary, with media specialist Mr. Brian Christopherson, talking about the value of makerspaces to giving students like Owen a “chance to let my imagination run free.” Makerspaces are dedicated spaces with hands-on low and high-tech tools for kids to create, build, collaborate and problem solve.

Donations during the giving moment started with an anonymous dollar for dollar match up to $5,000. On top of this, the Ramsey Lions donated another $5,000 to cultivate equitable and innovative experiences, like makerspaces, for students in Anoka-Hennepin Schools. We are so fortunate that our community values quality education and our students. “Our donors realize that the stronger our students are, the stronger our community is, the stronger our shared future is,” said Tess DeGeest, executive director of AHEF.

Funds donated will expand talent and opportunity development, enrich early childhood education and increase career and college readiness for students across Anoka-Hennepin. “Our donors are the real heroes here, they are the ones creating more and richer opportunities for our students,” DeGeest emphasized.

Next year’s celebration is tentatively set for February 6, 2021. “Events like this are a great excuse to dress up, go out, and have fun while raising money for a great cause, our kids,” said DeGeest. “We are already looking forward to next year’s Celebration.”

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