Sioux Falls high schools received a record hand out Thursday night. The cash came courtesy of the Presidents' Bowl, which brings school rivals together each year to raise money that supports dozens of Sioux Falls public high school programs. It's the primary fundraiser for each booster club. And 20 years after it began, the fundraising group finally hit its goal of $150,000.
“That was kind of their benchmark they wanted to hit and we've never gotten close to it,” 2012 Presidents’ Bowl co-chair Erin Elshami said.
“We're just really excited,” 2013 chair Ann Nachtigal said. “We're proud of the community.”
Washington, Lincoln and Roosevelt booster clubs each receive $50,000 this year courtesy of the largest President's Bowl haul ever. Washington was awarded its check Thursday during the Lincoln vs. Washington basketball game.
The organizers credit extra corporate sponsors and a lot of hard work during the year’s Presidents’ Bowl events.
“The business community really understands. They get it. They know that kids who are involved have higher GPAs. They're self-disciplined. They have high self-esteem, and they go on to be better workers in the workforce,” Nachtigal said.
The Presidents’ Bowl is the Sioux Falls school district's biggest annual fundraiser. It means programs survive and that parents write fewer extra-curricular activity checks.
“Certainly it means if this money wasn't being given to the activity, that activity might have to be doing a lot of individual fundraising and what a great opportunity to alleviate that,” 2012 co-chair Carolyn Cutler said.
“Perhaps they don't need to do candy bar sales or carwashes, things like that. They can focus their students and have more fun,” Elshami said.
And in the end, students can continue to be rivals on the court. Their parents cheer them on but work with each other to make sure the money keeps coming.
“Colors are at the door and you are working as one. And that's really the fun part,” Elshami said.