On Wednesday, September 20, 2023, RAFT hosted its annual fundraising event: The Magical Maker Mobile. Over 140 supporters were present at RAFT, which was transformed into a beautiful space for the special event that evening.
That evening, we honored the individuals and organizations that have made a profound impact on RAFT and the education community.
Guests also learned about RAFT and what we are doing to further our mission of inspiring joy through hands-on learning.
We were able to raise over $377,000. More than 6,000 educators and 100,000 students will continue to receive engaging, hands-on STEAM learning resources.
Frederic Caldwell, RAFT Board Member and Head of the Development Committee, was the host of the evening.
Helping Frederic with the Fund-A-Need portion of the program was Sundi Sundaresh, RAFT Vice Chair of the Board of Directors.
RAFT's Impact in the Community
Amidst the many changes in the educational landscape of the past few years, the education community has shown great resilience and unlimited innovation. RAFT has been proud to support over 6,000 educators and 100,000 students along the way with the resources needed to transform the classroom for future generations.
Learn more about RAFT's impact on the education community in this video.
STEAM Teachers of the Year
The RAFT STEAM Teacher of the Year Award honors educators that have gone above and beyond in making sure students have engaging lessons, use hands-on learning, and help develop 21st century skills such as resilience, creativity and critical thinking.
Jayanti Roy, RAFT Board Member and Professor of Child Development and Education at De Anza College, presented this year's awardees along with representatives from sponsors Aon, Deloitte and Morgan Stanley.
The 2023 RAFT STEAM Teachers of the Year are Michele Huesties from Sierramont Middle School, Alvaro Orozco from Montague Elementary and Antoinette Schlobohm from Thornton Middle School.
Watch the video below to hear the inspiring stories of these educators.
This year's RAFT Hero Awards were presented to Ned Barnholt and John Ebner.
Ned has been a part of RAFT’s history for over a decade. He offered advice to RAFT's founder Mary Simon on how to break into the online shopping space, helping expand RAFT’s reach around the state, country, and even the world.
John, a previous RAFT Board Chair, has supported RAFT since 2008. He connected and recruited many of his colleagues to support RAFT. He always jumped in to help RAFT over the years, especially during the pandemic.
2022 RAFT Hero awardee Donna Whitney, RAFT Board Member Sharon Hutchins, and Yosuka Ogata and Cecil Mak from KPMG presented the 2023 RAFT Hero Awards.
Volunteers of the Year
Volunteers play a critical role in helping RAFT serve the education community. Our volunteers make an incredible impact, volunteering for over 9,300 hours this year alone. Without volunteers, we would not be able to provide hands-on activities to those students that need us the most.
The 2023 RAFT Volunteer of the Year awardees are Nancy Stewart and Carol Schelling. Dave Pollock, Carol's son, received the award for her.
The awards were sponsored by Adobe and Fenwick.
Partner of the Year
The 2023 RAFT Partner of the Year was presented to Cisco.
RAFT’s collaboration with Cisco began in 1998, and has had a profound impact on the education community. This 25 year-long partnership has included the following:
- $1.1 million in monetary donations to RAFT to support hands-on learning resources.
- Cisco employees volunteering for over 36,000 hours at RAFT
- Over 1,100 tons of donated materials to RAFT for educators and students to use
The award was presented to Cisco representative Tra’shell Reese by Lauren Foote from Synopsys Outreach Foundation, 2022 RAFT Partner of the Year.
Material Donor of the Year
The 2023 RAFT Material Donor of the Year was presented to Greener Source, which has donated over 20 tons furniture and various materials to RAFT.
Valerie Suares received the award on behalf of her team.
Event Sponsors and Donors
Together with our event sponors and donors, RAFT is building a better world for the education community. Thank you for standing with us in our mission to inspire joy through hands-on learning.