For supporters of public education, it’s easier to board a train that’s headed in the right direction. Based on the impressive efforts of the Galveston ISD Educational Foundation, it’s full steam ahead for the organization that raises funds for teachers and campuses.

Galvestonians will get a chance to stamp their ticket for local schools April 25 at the GEF Annual Spring Event.

Set for 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. at the Moody Gardens Atrium, tickets are $100 a person and $40 for GISD teachers. The event will include food, drinks, live music and more. Proceeds of the event will go toward the GEF’s grants program that awards money for projects in the spring and fall that might not otherwise be paid for under the Galveston ISD general fund.

The progress of the GEF under Executive Director Eliza Quigley and her board — made up entirely of community volunteers — is definitely worth celebrating. GEF revenue increased by more than 57 percent last year, leading to a 50 percent increase in grant program distribution to GISD teachers and schools.

This school year, more than $73,000 has been awarded to individual teachers, departments and campuses. Of that amount, more than $46,000 has been given to the districtwide initiative of Balanced Literacy to help GISD raise its reading performance among its students. Nearly $7,000 has been awarded to teacher grants, almost $25,000 has been awarded to teaching teams or departments and more than $15,000 has been awarded to GISD schools needing support for Balanced Literacy books and supplies.

Quigley attributes this success to internal administrative support and a stronger focus on marketing and branding in the local and regional community. The strategy has been paying off. The cultivation of new and former donors led to a 60 percent increase in individual gifts, as well as a 31 percent increase at last year’s Annual Spring Event.

One of the most exciting things being offered at this year’s event is a raffle for a chance to win a six-day Caribbean cruise donated by Moody National Bank, a Rene Wiley original oil painting donated by Rene Wiley Gallery, and a mini-iPad donated by the GEF board of directors.

The event will also include a variety of excellent auction items including a vacation home stay in Park City, Utah; signed memorabilia by Nick Williams, a BHS graduate who plays for the Texas Rangers; a UT Football package with 50-yard-line seats; and a sunset cruise dinner aboard a 40 foot boat with food catered by Farley Girls.

As someone who has personally attended the last four GEF fundraisers, the annual spring event is simply one heck of a party. Not only is it fun with music, delicious food and friends, but it’s all for a good cause. There’s no better way to support our local public schools.

Please contact Eliza Quigley, 409-766-5157 or to RSVP or make a contribution. For information on the GEF, visit

Johnston Farrow is the communications specialist for Galveston ISD.

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