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Who We Are

Back in 1994, Mount Shasta public schools were facing dramatic budget cuts because of an anticipated decrease in funding. A small group of folks, growing tired of suggesting what to cut — classroom aids, art programs, advanced and remedial courses — decided to try to add to the budget. That’s how the Mount Shasta Education Foundation was born. To date, MSEF has granted over $500,000 to Mount Shasta’s public schools.

Established in January 1995, MSEF enhances the public education of our elementary, middle, and high school students. We were officially recognized as a corporation by the state of California in October 1996, and were granted nonprofit status as a 501(c)(3) in March 1997. Our goals are to raise funds for programs, supplies, and instruction; involve community members in the educational process; and support our local students and help them to prepare for successful futures. MSEF has always been staffed entirely by volunteers.

The Foundation Board (originally about 10 members) previously tried to raise money in a variety of creative ways – selling rootbeer floats on the 4th of July, holding a country dance, raffling a hot-air balloon ride, and putting on a tennis tournament. But the monies raised were minimal and the effort expended maximal.

That’s when we decided to focus on one big fundraiser per year. We figured: Do it once and do it right!  So on December 13, 1996, the first annual Starlight Gala took place at the Mount Shasta Community Building. The members of the board, along with several other volunteers, worked together to solicit donation items that could be auctioned. Almost all of the auction items and liquor were donated by local business people. The Mount Shasta Lion’s Club acted as bartenders, and the Community Building was offered at no cost by the Mount Shasta Masons. MSEF hired a local caterer to serve dinner, and the board members sold tickets, which entitled the holder to the silent auction, no-host bar, music, dinner and the live auction. The Gala raised $4,000, which went toward the 1996-1997 MSEF goal of purchasing computer equipment and software at Mount Shasta Elementary, Sisson Elementary and Mount Shasta High School.

That same year, the MSEF Board decided to create an annual mail solicitation called the Membership Drive. Sent out each May, this campaign – along with the Gala – provides the funding for all grants distributed by MSEF.

The Starlight Gala has grown tremendously. In 2004, the 12th Annual Starlight Gala netted a record $24,000. The next year, MSEF was awarded the Non Profit of the Year for 2005 by the Mount Shasta Chamber of Commerce. Now the MSEF Gala is one of the most popular events in Mount Shasta, and it is so thrilling to see businesses, parents, and community members choosing to invest so fully in Mount Shasta’s future!

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