West Hartford’s Cookin’ Up Something New Once Again

Foundation for West Hartford Public Schools Board members distributing “Thank You” bags for the 2021 event. Courtesy photo

The Foundation for West Hartford Public Schools is hosting a fundraiser with proceeds to fund two grant cycles during the 2022-2023 academic year.

Braeburn first-graders learn how to spin plates through the National Circus Project, funded by a grant from the Foundation for West Hartford Public Schools. Photo credit: Ronni Newton (we-ha.com file photo)

By Ronni Newton

The Foundation for West Hartford Public Schools pivoted its signature fundraiser – West Hartford’s Cookin’ – from an in-person celebrity chef event to an online format in 2021, and amid the lingering pandemic decided to build on the success of last year with a “Take 2” version.

The 2020 fundraiser, which was to have been held in March, was canceled completely, but the 2021 “West Hartford’s Cookin’ Up Something New” raised more than $42,000 to provide grants in the district.

This year the Foundation will be providing two separate grant cycle during the 2022-2023 academic year – the first time in the organization’s 24-year history that teachers will have the opportunity to apply twice during the same school year.

Lauren Fine and Deena Samberg-Shefsky, co-presidents, said splitting up the grants into two cycles increases flexibility for teachers.

“By providing the opportunity for two grants cycles within the academic year we will offer teachers the ability to both plan ahead as well as to collaborate with colleagues within their grade level, school and across the district,” they said in a statement. “We are responding to feedback from our teachers, and we are so pleased to be able to support them as they plan exciting and enriching opportunities for West Hartford students. The first grant cycle has opened, and the Board and Grant Reading Teams are looking forward to reviewing applications in May and awarding grants in June for 2022-2023. The next cycle of applications will be reviewed in November and awarded in December.”

For “Take 2,” those who donate at least $100 to this year’s campaign will receive a thank you bag containing food-related goodies courtesy of local businesses such as Bridgewater Chocolate, Chick-fil-A, Little Owls Bakery, Moscarillo’s, Sardilli Produce & Dairy, and Tastebooks. The West Hartford Public School’s Post-Secondary program will also provide a donation for the bag.

In addition, one very lucky donor will receive a bag that contains more than $200 worth of gift cards to local restaurants, and another will receive a certificate for a one-night stay in a deluxe room at the Delamar West Hartford with breakfast for two the next morning.

The fundraiser is underway and will run through April 23.

The Foundation is very thankful to the Delamar, DORO Restaurant Group, Effie’s Place, Playa Bowls and other local dining establishments for their donations, and is also thankful to Victor Advertising for providing the bags and Cricket Press for providing printing.

In the current school year, the Foundation has been able to award 29 grants totaling more than $57,000, used by educators to fund projects and residencies that would not otherwise be available to West Hartford Public Schools students. The Foundation, now in its 24th year, has provided more than $1.9 million in grants to supplement learning experiences for students from grades pre-K through post secondary.

For more information about “West Hartford’s Cookin’ Up Something New” including a link to donate, visit the website.

Sponsors to date include Anne & Jim Carroll, Duncaster Retirement Community, Frank Webb Home, the Goldbeck Family, GYL Financial Synergies, J.P. Carroll Construction, Lexham West Hartford, Macca Plumbing & Heating, MARCUM, O’Meara Real Estate Group, Robert F. Edmunds Jr. & Mary Louise Edmunds, Smith Brothers Insurance, Triumph Engine Control Systems, the West Hartford Administrators Association, and the West Hartford Education Association. Visit fwhps.org/page/foundation-sponsorship to learn more about sponsorship opportunities. The Foundation is a 501(c)(3) organization.

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