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Irvine Public Schools Foundation Raises a Record $1.8 Million to Benefit Critical Programs and Classroom Support at Annual Gala

Tuesday, October 08, 2019

Main News Photo

Generous supporters of the Irvine Public Schools Foundation (IPSF), an education partner of the Greater Irvine Chamber, gathered for the 10th Anniversary Spirit of Excellence Gala at KIA Motors Headquarters in Irvine on Oct. 5. The elegant celebration, including a mix of civic and business leaders as well as individual community members, raised a record $1.8 million to fund critical programs and classroom support for Irvine Unified School District (IUSD).

As a leading nonprofit, whose mission is to enrich the education experience of each child in every school, IPSF relies on generous community support to fulfill its commitment to provide programs, raise funds, and unite the community in support of education excellence in Irvine schools.

“For over a decade, our annual gala has been a shining example of how community support of education can effect real change for our young people. We are proud to facilitate public-private partnerships that provide innovative programs and opportunities to inspire students to follow their dreams and make the world a better a place,” said Neda Eaton, president and CEO, Irvine Public Schools Foundation.

Greater Irvine Chamber Leaders Circle memberFivePoint was the presenting sponsor for the event, and gifted a record breaking $1 million donation, reinforcing their commitment to educational excellence in Irvine.

“Providing children from all walks of life and corners of the globe with equal access to a high-quality education is essential to improving our community and elevating society as a whole,” said Emile Haddad, chairman and CEO, FivePoint. “In Irvine schools where 72 different languages are spoken, children are learning how to collaborate, solve problems and become tomorrow’s leaders. FivePoint is proud to expand our longtime partnership with Irvine Public Schools Foundation and advance the impact of a well-rounded education in creating a sustainable future.”

The evening also celebrated the accomplishments of two individuals whose education in Irvine set the stage for their future success. Honorees each received the Spirit of Excellence Award in their respective fields, in recognition of their achievements.

These honorees included:

  • Spirit of Excellence in Athletics, Natasha Watley — world-class athlete, the first African-American female to play on the United States softball team in the Olympics, and founder of the Natasha Watley Foundation. (Woodbridge High School Class of 1999)
  • Spirit of Excellence in Arts, Shelby and Sandy Murphy — Brothers Shelby and Sandy are renowned artists and a true creative team, collaborating on every aspect of each piece and pioneering new methods of creating vibrant analog art with a digital look. (University High School, Class of 2002 and 2010)

Throughout the night, guests experienced moving performances by nearly 100 IUSD students from 16 IUSD schools directed by Rob Blaney, of the Grammy Award-winning Woodbridge High School music program.     

“The success of the 2019 Spirit of Excellence Gala is a testament to the unwavering support the Irvine community has for education,” said Eaton. “Our sponsors and gala committee showed tremendous leadership, which resulted in our most successful event yet. The funds raised will make an impact in the educational experience of over 35,000 students in our community.”

In addition to presenting sponsor FivePoint, other major corporate sponsors included FUTEK, Total Wine & More, Cox, UPS, Kading Briggs LLP, Kia Motors and Neiman Marcus, Fashion Island.

Category: Partner News, Member News