The Santa Fe Texas Education Foundation Fall Gala raises funds for innovative educational materials that benefit the public school students in Santa Fe ISD. The Fall Gala is expected to raise over $60,000. Attendees will have the option of donating funds to support particular classroom projects. Along with raising funds that will enhance instruction, the Foundation recognizes an outstanding community leader each year. Mr. Joe Kelly Tombrella, from the Santa Fe High School class of 1944, will be honored.

Since its establishment in 2010, the Foundation has awarded over $300,000 to SFISD campuses. Santa Fe ISD and the Foundation are proud of the impact these grants have had on teachers and students. Horticulture and a new Living Materials Center are among the newest projects under development. The Foundation also partnered with Texas A&M and State Farm Insurance to bring safe driving programs with driving simulators, impairment goggles, and pedal cars to the high school. McRee Ford has also continued to partner with the district and the Foundation for the last six years for the Ford Drive 4UR School event, which raises approximately $6,000 to fund grants for classrooms.

The Santa Fe ISD Classroom WishLists was launched last year, and has proved to be a great success for teachers, students and our donors. SFISD educators submit requests for items they need for their classroom, then donors can see these wish lists online. Donors choose the project they want to support and make a secure online donation. Since this platform was launched, 41 projects have been submitted and funded, totaling approximately $16,000. Additionally, in 2015, the Foundation has worked with numerous sponsors, including Santa Fe Fire and Rescue, to offer college scholarships to graduating seniors. “We are very pleased with the growth of our Foundation,” stated Jason Tabor, President of the Foundation. “I’ve been involved since the very beginning, and I get so excited to see the faces of our grant winners light up when we announce the awards every December and June.” 

The evening’s honoree, Mr. Joe Kelly Tombrella, became a regional business leader after graduating from Santa Fe High School. He built Santa Fe’s first modern grocery store, along with other local businesses. His civic work included serving as a founding member of the Alta Loma Volunteer Fire Department and the business association that became the Santa Fe Chamber of Commerce. Beyond Santa Fe, he was involved with the establishment of College of the Mainland, as well as many other county boards. Among his numerous recognitions, were the 1979 Howard O. Payne Award and the 1991 President H.W. George Bush 1000 Points of Light Award. 

The Fall Gala will take place in Ed Pickett Hall at the Galveston County Fairgrounds, at 10 Jack Brooks Road in Hitchcock, beginning at 6 p.m. Sponsorships start at $250, and individual tickets are $25. For more information about the event, and to make your reservation, contact Jodi Gidley at 409-925-9080. More information about the Santa Fe Texas Education Foundation can be found by clicking on the community tab at

Inside SFISD

Patti Hanssard is the assistant superintendent for human resources and the public relations officer for SFISD.


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