Irvine Public Schools Foundation Honors Alumni of Irvine Schools, Raises Over $720,000 at 2017 Spirit Of Excellence Gala

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Main News Photo

Irvine Public Schools Foundation (IPSF) on Oct. 14 hosted its 8th Annual Spirit of Excellence Gala at KIA Motors America. With over 400 guests in attendance, including a mix of civic and business leaders as well as individual community members, the event raised more than $720,000 in net proceeds.

Funds raised will help fund critical programs and classroom support for Irvine Unified School District (IUSD). The evening began with a Hollywood-style red carpet arrival, cocktail reception and Silent Auction, featuring more than 50 exclusive items. Coveted items in the auction included a Tuscany Wine Trip donated by Total Wine and More, a chef's tasting dinner at Habana restaurant, and autographed sports memorabilia from such notable athletes as Antonio Brown of the Pittsburgh Steelers, and Pro Football Hall of Famer, Warren Moon.

Students from Irvine and Northwood High School performed a drumline battle during the reception to usher the guests into the ballroom.

“We are so honored to have the opportunity to showcase the talent and achievements of both current and former students that have become the hallmark of Irvine Unified School District,” explains Neda Eaton, President and CEO of Irvine Public Schools Foundation. “Our annual gala is 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 that have the ability to inspire students to follow their dreams and make the world a better a place.”

Hosted by Dennis Kuhl, Chairman at Angels Baseball, the evening featured a moving performance of Lean on Me by the Grammy Award winning Woodbridge High School choir as well as a performance by Island Apollo, Northwood High School alumni and the recipients of the Rising Star Award at the event. A live auction during dinner featured six amazing experiences, including a Neiman Marcus Fashionista package, tickets to the sold out production of Hamilton, and a VIP day at the Del Mar races. The evening also celebrated the accomplishments of three 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.

Honorees include:

  • Spirit of Excellence in the Arts — Steve Bass, Multi-Emmy Award winning Production Designer (Irvine High School Class of 1987)
  • Spirit of Excellence in Journalism — Eli Stokols, White House Reporter, The Wall Street Journal (University High School Class of 1997)
  • Spirit of Excellence in Leadership — Cassie Parham, IUSD Assistant Superintendent of Education Services (Irvine High School Class of 1988)

“The success of the 2017 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 34,000 students in our community.”

FivePoint was the presenting sponsor for the eighth consecutive year. Other corporate sponsors included The Resort at Pelican Hill, Microsemi, Greenberg Taurig, Pillsbury Law, Cox Communications, Kading Briggs LLP and Wells Fargo.

Irvine Public Schools Foundation (IPSF) is a nonprofit organization with the mission of enriching the educational experience of each child in every school. Founded in 1996 by concerned parents and community leaders, IPSF sponsors enrichment programs and provides financial support to ensure a world-class education in Irvine schools. In addition, IPSF excels at uniting local corporate and community partners, parents and residents in raising funds to nurture student potential. Each year, IPSF provides millions of dollars in funding to Irvine Unified School District (IUSD) to support STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics) education, small-group learning, athletic trainers at high schools, afterschool and summer programs, and grants for classroom innovation.

For more information about IPSF, visit

Category: Partner News

You May Also Be Interested In: