MEF Executive Director Katie Hanners explained that the mission of the MEF is to raise funds to support the Signal Mountain schools, all of them, as well as to enhance the educational opportunities for the children at those schools.
For the past six years, the Mountain Education Foundation has hosted a major fundraising event called Coffee and Dessert, which is aimed at raising funds for the organization through keynote speakers, major presentations and a plethora of small signature desserts for the attendees’ tasting pleasure. This year, the much-anticipated event will be held Thursday, September 8, at the SMMHS gym and will feature John Quinones, broadcast journalist and host of “What Would You Do?”
“In past years, we have paid for several staffing positions in the schools, technology in the schools, classroom supplies and other things,” Ms. Hanners said. With the funds from this year’s Coffee and Dessert event, MEF plans on paying for 11 different staffing positions. MEF has been quite successful in raising a substantial amount of money for its cause. In fact, its efforts have garnered amounts measuring in the hundreds of thousands of dollars. “Over the years, we have raised anywhere from $180,000 to $200,000 at each event,” Ms. Hanners said, adding that attendance is on the rise, with 900 folks attending the event last year.
The event itself has several different activities within it. “First we have a dessert showcase, which means we have different vendors from the community come in and provide a signature bite-size dessert, and the guests have the opportunity to vote on their favorite dessert. After that, the main program begins, consisting of the keynote speaker’s presentation, as well as a campaign video about what MEF is, and sometimes we’ll bring in student speakers as well,” Ms. Hanners said.
In terms of the future of the Mountain Education Foundation, Ms. Hanners hopes that it will continue to increase its influence and ability to fulfill its mission. In fact, she said that the best possibility would be to outgrow its current dimensions.
“I’d love to see more and more people want to attend the event, and we would have to look for a new venue. Also, we’ve been able to raise right at $200,000 for the event the last few years, and I’d love to see that number continue to go up. Because of all the different factors involved with putting on the event, that amount only comes to about one third of what we need to continue the foundation,” Ms. Hanners said.
The future of this organization is certainly bright as it keeps growing, ensuring the light of the Mountain Education Foundation will continue to shine throughout the Signal Mountain community by way of the education of its young people. For more information or to register, visit the MEF website.