While COVID-19 has prevented large gatherings, the Cape Henlopen Educational Foundation has found a new way to hold its signature fundraising event that benefits district teachers and students.
The 15th annual CHEF Winter Jam will stream live from 7 to 9:30 p.m., Friday, March 26, from Mid South Audio recording studio in Milton. WRDE meteorologist Paul Williams will emcee the event, which features entertainment by Blue Label Band and a special appearance by Milton native and country music star Jimmie Allen.
“He’s a Cape grad and we’re glad to have him on board,” said Calvin Jackson, CHEF communications and marketing chair. “We’re also thankful to Mid South Audio, who has given us a great deal to use the facility, and their technicians will be handling everything.”
A link to the virtual live auction will be emailed to attendees two weeks in advance, and a live gift card pull will also take place.
In between music sets, Cape Superintendent Bob Fulton and members of the Cape community will speak, and videos will show students and teachers who have benefited from CHEF grants.
Cape High’s entire performing arts department worked with audio, radio and video students to create a video that will be played along with other musical selections. The video project was part of a joint final exam for jazz band and video students.
Advantages to this year’s virtual event include a low ticket price of $15 and the ability to watch with friends and family in comfort from anywhere in the world, Jackson said.
With funds raised, CHEF awards grants to support teachers’ unbudgeted classroom projects, homeless and limited-income students, STEM initiatives, field trips, performing arts education and training, and programs to promote diversity and inclusion.
Since 2006, CHEF has contributed more than $196,000 in grant funds to 304 awardees, Jackson said.
“Requests from teachers and students have been different this year, but we’re still out there giving out grants,” he said. “A lot of our grant requests are for programs or projects that assist with remote learning, such as wired keyboards, virtual author visits and books, and counseling resources.”
CHEF relies heavily on supporters such as event host and major sponsor Dogfish Head Brewery, Jackson said. To date, sponsors of $1,000 and more include the Carl M. Freeman Foundation, ABHA Architects, OneCall Services, Pilottown Engineering, Baker Petroleum, Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices - Gallo Realty, L&W Insurance, Morris James LLP, Nickle Electrical Companies, Patterson Schwartz Real Estate, Walker & Laberge, Wolfe & Associates and WRDE.
“We’re still looking for sponsors, especially at our highest level, valedictorian,” Jackson said.
Valedictorian sponsors will have their business logo displayed on a personalized banner hung at all Cape High stadiums until next year’s Winter Jam, Jackson said. They also receive 12 virtual login links to Winter Jam, advance promotion on social media, a check presentation and photo sent to media outlets, verbal recognition during the event, a post-event thank you in the Cape Gazette, and a Friends of Cape membership for 2021.
Restaurant sponsors Bethany Blues, Crooked Hammock Brewery, Fish On, Fork + Flask, and Po’ Boys Creole Restaurant will donate a portion of their proceeds on March 26 to CHEF.
“It’s a little different, but we’re excited about Winter Jam, the mission of CHEF and how we’re impacting these students,” Jackson said. “Everyone can agree we need to put more money into education, because it benefits everyone.”
Winter Jam 2021 sponsorship and ticket information are available at chef-cape.org.