ST. HELENA — The St. Helena community “gave big” last week, donating $192,316.80 and counting for school enrichment programs.
Donations are being accepted at least through the end of May, and possibly through June, at GiveBigStHelena.org. So far this year’s total is lower than the roughly $240,000 Give Big St. Helena raised in its inaugural year of 2015.
The proceeds will be split evenly among the St. Helena Public Schools Foundation and the parent groups for the four schools in the St. Helena Unified School District. Those organizations will award grants for programs like art, drama and music, field trips, special guests and other activities that are outside the scope of the regular curriculum.
Even though donations are lagging behind last year, organizers are enthusiastic.
“We are very grateful for such an amazing community that supports local education and the wonderful projects that teachers can now bring to their classrooms and their students,” said Dorothy Mondavi, one of the organizers of Give Big.
Mondavi added that it’s not too late to donate. Last year donations kept trickling in for months.
The fundraiser was designed as an alternative to the Just Imagine wine auctions of the past, minimizing overhead costs and drawing energy from social media instead of from lavish entertainment acts and wine lots.
While organizers haven’t made any decisions about next year, “we hope this is a fundraiser that has longevity,” Mondavi said. “We want to find ways to help it grow.”
The biggest single donation was $10,240 from Spottswoode, followed by the Dorothy Mondavi family with $5,324, and $5,000 donations from Napa Valley Masonic No. 93, Aaron and Claire Pott, and an anonymous donor.
The family of vineyard manager and St. Helena High School alumnus David Abreu also gave big, with four donations of $2,424 each from the Abreu family, Rico Abreu Racing, Abreu Vineyards and David Abreu Vineyard Management.
This year Give Big was merged with Robert Louis Stevenson Middle School’s annual Run for Funds, resulting in a new event called Run Big. Students from all four schools ran through town Friday, being showered in colored powder upon arriving at each school.