The silent auction that's part of this year's Grandview Heights/Marble Cliff Education Foundation Gala will certainly be quiet.

The silent auction that's part of this year's Grandview Heights/Marble Cliff Education Foundation Gala will certainly be quiet.

The only noise may be the clacking of computer keyboards, as all the bids will be completed online through 32Auctions.

The gala itself will be held from 6:30 to 11 p.m. Feb. 18 at the Hilton Columbus Downtown, 401 N. High St.

Invitations to the gala have been mailed; reservations may be made at ghmcef.org. The cost is $150; reservations are due by Feb. 1.

"We think going to an online auction will help streamline the bidding process," said Jeff Greer, vice president of the foundation board of trustees.

"It also opens up participation in the auction to the entire community, not just those who are able to attend the gala," he said.

The auction will be open from 8 p.m. Feb. 11 through 9 p.m. Feb. 18, the night of the gala.

The auction will be located at 32auctions.com/GHMCEFGala2017. Auction items can be viewed as they are added at the site. Participants must set up an account to make a bid.

"We've experimented before with including an online-bidding element to the auction, but this is the first time it's all online," Greer said.

In addition to dining and gift cards donated by central Ohio restaurants and businesses, the auction will include several items valued at $1,000 or more, he said.

Those items will include cruise and airfare vouchers for two; a five-course dinner and wine experience for eight people; a full spring yard cleanup, including floral display; and a week's stay in Pensacola, Florida, Greer said.

The gala will include a social hour, dinner and dancing to the music of the Fabulous Johnson Brothers.

The event is being held for the first time at the Hilton Columbus Downtown.

"We've averaged over 300 people attending the gala the last few years and there aren't many places that can accommodate such a large number of people," Greer said. "The Hilton is a great venue for our event and it's in a location that's convenient to our community."

The date for the gala has been moved back to winter after being held in the spring last year.

"The earlier date helps avoid conflicting with other special events that are held in the springtime," Greer said.

The gala serves as the foundation's main fundraiser.

In 2016, the foundation approved $73,000 in grants to support programs that benefit education in the community. Over the last 25 years, the foundation has awarded more than $673,000 in grants.

"While the majority of our grants have gone to our schools, we are shifting our focus a bit to try to include more opportunities for programs that exist outside of the schools," Greer said.

The foundation provided a $2,139 grant last year to the Grandview Heights Public Library for the purchase of 31 backpacks filled with educational materials.

"We tend to focus on grant applications for projects that are innovative," Greer said. "We think of it as incubating new ideas that teachers can test out and use as a model for expansion to other schools and classrooms."

afroman@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekAfroman