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Morris Plains Fundraiser Mixes Drinks and Dining with District Support

Wine tasting fundraiser for the Morris Plains School District set for the Mansion at Bretton Woods Feb. 7.

When one thinks of a fundraising event for a school district, it is rare that a wine tasting would make the list. 

But its unusual nature us exactly why the Educational Foundation of Morris Township is holding just such an event on Feb. 7 at the Mansion at Bretton Woods. 

"We thought it had an appeal to a wide audience. The Education Foundation of Morris Plains (EFMP) has a mission to reach into the community to gather support for the school district of Morris Plains, and we thought that a wine tasting, which hadn’t been done locally, would appeal to a wide variety of people in our community and beyond," said EFMP President Suzanne Schafer Skalski. "The response has been excellent, as last year people attended who had no affiliation with the district, but enjoyed the wines and supported our event."

Like last year, this year will feature three tasting stations with three different grape varieties—Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon and Pinot Noir—from locations in the U.S., South America and France. Wine experts will be standing by to help you further your wine education. 

“The wines will all be reasonably priced but equal in taste to more expensive wines,” said Keith Pignataro, certified wine specialist of Gary’s Wine and Marketplace in Madison. “You will learn how to find an excellent bottle for eight, nine or 10 dollars.”

More than just wine, guests attending can select from an antipasto station and finger foods from around the world, including smoked salmon wheels, spanakopita, baked Brie. Background music will be provided by popular local musician and MHS alum Skip Yingling and there will be a dessert table as well. 

The proceeds of last year's tasting pushed progress in terms of technology in the classroom. 

"The money raised last year funded a full classroom set of Chrome laptop computers, as well as a large built-in cabinet to hold our new digital microscopes, which we were able to donate thanks to a grant obtained from BASF," Skalski said. "We are working to update our middle school science classrooms with better technology to help our students have current experiences as they enter the high school curriculum."

To that end, there will also be a gift auction, which includes items like a dream trip to Ireland, Broadway tickets, a spa spectacular and more, all donated by generous merchants and sponsors.

"The Education Foundation is also working with the school district to identify other future projects and plans that we can help support," Skalski said. "Our mission is to work with the community, business, corporations, and foundations to gather support for the school district in many different ways."

Skalski said that while they would love everyone to come to the tasting on Feb. 7, there are many other ways that people can support the efforts of the Education Foundation of Morris Plains.  

"First, they could go on line at our website where the tickets to the event as well as opportunities to learn more and contribute to the foundation exist.  Second, if businesses or corporations are interested in partnering with us, we would love to speak with them," Skalski said. "Finally, if anyone has any information about grants or foundation opportunities that exist through their corporations, please get in touch with me, and we can work from there."

The EFMP  is a 501(c)(3) organization so any contributions are tax deductible.


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