The Grosse Pointe Foundation for Public Education’s 2021 Be the Beacon Benefit set a record fundraising total for the organization.

The Grosse Pointe Foundation for Public Education’s 2021 Be the Beacon Benefit set a record fundraising total for the organization.

Photo provided by Cherished Candids by Erin


Be the Beacon Benefit makes history

By: Maria Allard | Grosse Pointe Times | Published June 23, 2021

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GROSSE POINTE SHORES — There’s a new record in town, and it belongs to the Grosse Pointe Foundation for Public Education, or GPFPE.

On June 21, GPFPE representatives announced that its 2021 Be the Beacon Benefit fundraiser set a record fundraising total for the organization.

The event, held June 3 at the Grosse Pointe Yacht Club, brought in $270,000. This will help the nonprofit organization establish the new Social Emotional Encouragement and Development, or SEED, initiative.

According to Be the Beacon Benefit organizers, $94,000 of the money raised  — including a leadoff donation of $25,000 from the families of John and Marlene Boll and Kris and Jim Mestdagh — will benefit SEED.

The GPFPE funds educational opportunities for the students of the Grosse Pointe Public School System. Grants are awarded in the fall and spring to district teachers and support staff. Teachers, administrators, students, parents and community members can submit grant applications. A committee evaluates the grant applications before selecting the recipients.

SEED will fund grants that target social and emotional growth, healing and connections, and other mental health programs. The remaining funds will support the GPFPE’s biannual districtwide grants distribution. The GPFPE said it “is incredibly grateful” to the many corporate sponsors that supported this year’s benefit.  

“It was wonderful to be able to gather again with our supporters and friends on the beautiful lawn of the Grosse Pointe Yacht Club,” GPFPE Board President Bob Bury said in a prepared statement. “We are grateful to everyone who came together to make this event a success, and we look forward to putting these dollars to work directly in classrooms across the Grosse Pointe Public School District.”

Inspirational speaker and author JT Mestdagh served as the event’s honorary chair. Mestdagh grew up in Grosse Pointe Farms and is known for overcoming several health challenges. His influence brought the Tattum F.A.S.T. reading program to the GPPSS.

Since 2007, the GPFPE has provided close to $3.5 million in funding to support various programs and projects at every school and every grade level across the district.

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