Foundation for West Hartford Public Schools ‘Cooked Up Something New,’ Raising More than $42,000

Board members prepare to hand gift bags to donors. From left: Carol Lorenzo, Keats Jarmon, Deena Samberg-Shefsky, Jerel Rocktaschel. Courtesy photo

The Foundation for West Hartford Public Schools fundraiser netted more than $42,000 to be used for teacher grants.

Event Chair Jerel Rocktaschel hands gift bag to one of many generous donors. Courtesy photo


On a bright sunny Saturday, board members from the Foundation for West Hartford Public Schools met at Town Hall to hand out gift bags to donors who contributed $100 or more to the Foundation’s “West Hartford’s Cookin’ Up Something New” campaign.

For the second year in a row, the Foundation was unable to hold their popular “West Hartford’s Cookin”event, a community gathering of over 300 people traditionally held in March each year at Town Hall. Instead, the Foundation pivoted and presented the “West Hartford’s Cookin’ Up Something New” campaign to support 28 grant awards totaling $32,837 from a special grant cycle in order to provide COVID-friendly academic enrichment programs throughout the school district and the $20,000 award to the Department of Equity Advancement to support equity and anti-racism education.

Event chair and board member Jerel Rocktaschel said, “It was so great to personally greet and thank our donors. We are very thankful for a generous community that is passionate about providing innovative opportunities for WHPS students.”

The event exceeded its initial fundraising goal and raised over $42,000. Funds raised will directly support the Foundation’s mission to financially back educational projects, programs, and initiatives that will enhance and enliven the classroom experience and promote excellence in West Hartford Public Schools. Board Co-Presidents Carol Lorenzo and Lauren Fine said, “The Foundation appreciates every donor, from the $10 cash gift given by the couple walking by the tent on Saturday, to the $2,500 Explorer sponsors, and everyone in-between.” 

Gift bags included a variety of items from in-kind donors. Courtesy photo

Top sponsors of the event included Explorer Sponsors Frank Webb Home and the Goldbeck Family; Discoverer Sponsors, Anne and Jim Carroll, Duncaster, GYL Financial Synergies, Hoffman Auto Group, J.P. Carroll Construction, Lexham West Hartford, Macca Plumbing and Heating, O’Meara Real Estate Group, Smith Brothers Insurance, and the West Hartford Education Association. Local community in-kind donors and sponsors who provided items for the gift bags included A.C. Petersen Farms, Arethusa Farm Dairy and Café, Birdcode, Bridgewater Chocolate, Chick-fil-A, Citizen Chicken & Donuts, Cookshop Plus, Cricket Press, Donut Crazy, Effie’s Place, Frank Pepe’s, Harry’s Bishop Corner, Hartford Baking Company, Lindsay Perkins of Lindsay Culinary, Moscarillo’s Garden Shoppe, Sally & Bob’s Eatery, Sardilli Produce and Dairy, The Sinatro Company, Thomas Hooker Brewery, Victor Advertising, West Hartford Public School Post Secondary Program, and West Hartford Public School PTOs.

“We thank the local community for their continued support of the Foundation and look forward to being able to gather in person in the coming year,” said Board member Deena Samberg-Shefsky said

For more information about the Foundation please visit fwhps.org.

Please consider honoring West Hartford’s special teachers and administrators for Teacher Appreciation Week through the Foundation’s “Teacher Thank-You Gift” program. Information about this program can be found at https://fwhps.org/page/teacher-gift-program.

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