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Achieve Night of 100 Dinners Raises More Than $50,000 To Support SOMA Schools

Shirley Meyers

Monday, March 17, 2014 • 3:28pm

MAPLEWOOD/SOUTH ORANGE, NJ - The Achieve Foundation’s beloved Night of 100 Dinners celebrated its 10th anniversary this year with more than 900 people—the largest number yet for the foundation—enjoying lively cocktail parties and quiet meals across South Orange and Maplewood to raise money for district schools.

Achieve is a nonprofit organization that raises funds for public education in the face of strained local school budgets. Night of 100 Dinners is Achieve's largest fundraiser of the year and early estimates predict more than $50,000 in revenue generated from the event.

The parties—54 in total—included wine-tastings, an afternoon tea, tapas and a Mardi Gras theme. Their sizes ranged from eight guests to a sit-down meal for 85 people. The gatherings featured camaraderie and conversation among parents and community members alike.

Achieve said it is grateful to district staff members and parent volunteers who attended the dinners to discuss some of the ways they are integrating technology into the schools across all disciplines. The foundation will continue to investigate ways to partner with the district with funding related to science, technology, engineering and math as well as other initiatives.

“I attended two dinners to talk about the accomplishments and the future of Achieve,” said Marietta Zacker, vice-president of Achieve’s board of trustees. “It was wonderful to hear so many supporters talk about Achieve and how the work we do affects every student in the district.”

Patricia Canning and Lindsay Scott, chairwomen of the event, were happy to see enthusiastic support across the two towns. “We can't thank everyone enough for all of their hard work and dedication," they said. 

From 1999 to 2013, Achieve gave a total of $1.8 million for programs in all nine schools. Achieve is best known for its Volunteer Tutor Program, which pairs qualified adult and teenage volunteer tutors with district students in kindergarten through 12th grade, and its teacher grant program, which provides funding to teachers for innovative classroom projects that they design.

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