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The Big Event raises nearly $35,000

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Nearly $35,000 was raised through The Big Event, a fundraising effort headed by the Brainerd Public School Foundation (BPSF).

“It was a tremendous night for the foundation in all facets,” said Eryk Haapajoki, event chair and BPSF Board Member.

The Big Event, which was conducted Saturday, originated because BPSF leaders 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.

“The foundation has been around for many years, yet some people still don’t understand who we are and what we do,” Haapajoki said. “This was an opportunity to see what the foundation is about and what benefits our kids get.”

The Big Event is the first of many, foundation leaders say. They hope to eventually raise $50,000 or more at each.

About 310 people attended the Big Event, which is “tremendous” for the first year, Haapajoki said.

At The Big Event, current students were recognized for achievements, as well as former students. That will show Brainerd students now what their future could look like with hard work and dedication, foundation leaders say.

The event was also 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. More than $17,000 in grants were awarded for this year.

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.

The next Big Event will be Feb. 7, 2015.

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

Denton (Denny) Newman Jr.
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