Weather Forecast


BPS Foundation unveiling the Big Event

1 / 2
2 / 2

It’s been a long time in the making.

Now Brainerd Public School Foundation (BPSF) leaders are ready to unveil what they’ve been crafting for the past couple of years. And they’re calling it The Big Event.

Organizers have long wanted a signature event for the foundation. An annual event that serves as its largest fundraiser and most visible way to promote its mission.

“It’s a way to show what our schools have achieved,” said Jill Neumann, executive director of the BPSF.

The event had to be unique. It had to stand out above everything else. It had to be big.

The Big Event is the first of many, foundation leaders say. They hope to eventually raise $50,000 at each event, but for the first year, they’ll be happy with whatever comes.

It has gained 25 sponsors so far, and has live and silent auction items valued together at $35,000.

At The Big Event, current students will be recognized for achievements, as well as former students.

That will show Brainerd students now what their future could look like with some hard work and dedication, said Deborah Erickson, president of the BPSF.

The event will also be a chance to announce the recipients of the 2014 grants. This year marks a milestone of $100,000 granted over the years by the foundation.

The BPSF is a nonprofit organization created in 1987. It started with the sole purpose of being a scholarship vehicle, offering support to students in need.

In recent years, the organizations has transformed into a support system to both students and staff. The foundation offers support to the district as a whole, whether it be for club projects, teacher needs in the classroom or students needing financial support.

Last year, it gave out $40,000 in scholarship awards.

That wider focus of support is following a trend for school foundations across the nation, Neumann said.

That change is even more critical now, as state funding can’t always be depended on, Erickson said.

“We want to assist the district in any way they need,” she said. “Opportunity, innovation and success. We support that.”

In order to do that, foundation leaders want to better establish the organization. The Big Event is a stepping stone to that goal.

“We want people connected to the schools,” Erickson said. “It’s a big community.”

Neumann added, “Schools are the heart of the community.”

JESSICA LARSEN, staff writer, may be reached at or 855-5859. Follow me on Twitter at