The Grandview Heights/Marble Cliff Education Foundation again will hold its annual gala in the school district's backyard.

Grandview Yard, in fact.

The 2019 gala will run from 6 to 11 p.m. Feb. 23 at the Grand Event Center, 820 Goodale Blvd.

"The Grand Event Center served as such a perfect location last year. We're excited to be able to bring the gala back there this year," said Alicia Gaston, who is serving as co-chairwoman of the gala with Lindsey Bills.

"It's a beautiful facility and really convenient for people in our district to get to," Gaston said.

The venue offers a hometown location with enough capacity to accommodate the 250 to 300 guests who attend each year's gala, she said.

The Fabulous Johnson Brothers again will serve as the evening's entertainment, Gaston said. The evening will include cocktails, dinner and live and silent auctions.

The gala serves as the main fundraiser for the foundation, which provides grants to support programs that benefit education in the community.

The foundation awarded more than $65,000 in grants in 2018.

Bids for the silent auction may be made online on a date to be determined in early February, Bills said.

"The online auction gives the entire community a chance to bid on items," she said. "It gives people who aren't able to attend the gala a way to still support the event.

"We had a lot of online bids come in last year, and some of the winning bids were made online," Bills said.

The gala will include pictures, videos and stories about some of the youngsters around the world who benefited from Grandview Heights Schools' Hands of Gratitude project, said Jeff Greer, president of the foundation's board of trustees.

In May, more than 120 students and parents volunteered to learn how to make prosthetic hands. Their finished products were sent to children who need them in Honduras and India.

The foundation provided a $9,000 grant that made the project possible.

"People are going to be able to see directly how their support for the foundation has helped change lives," he said.

Greer said the foundation's mission is to enhance educational opportunities for the entire community.

"This was really our first grant that probably best reflects that mission," he said. "What was so exciting about Hands of Gratitude was that it included people from the entire school district, not just students."

Last spring, the foundation awarded $25,000 in scholarships to five graduating Grandview Heights High School seniors.

The new scholarship program allows the foundation to return to awarding both grants and scholarships as it did in its early years.

"It's a testament to the success and momentum of the foundation and the support we get from the community that we are able to give out these $5,000 scholarships to deserving seniors," Greer said.

The scholarships are based on more than just academic achievement, he said.

"We're also looking at students who show leadership and community service, have overcome some type of challenge to earn academic success and who also demonstrate that they recognize that success in their academic career will have an impact on their long-term career success," he said.

"Our scholarships are designed to recognize and reward students who might not always be recognized in more traditional scholarship programs," Greer said.

Tickets to the 2019 gala cost $175 per person, of which $80 is tax-deductible.

Reservations may be made at the foundation's website, www.ghmcef.org.

Invitations to the gala will be mailed in January, Gaston said.

"It's always a good party for a good cause," Greer said.

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