September 2020 For some, the official “kickoff” to fall is the start of the regular NFL season. For me, the start of the season’s festivities begins with the Carmel Education Foundation’s (CEF) annual Ghost & Goblins fundraiser. While it might look different from years past, Ghosts & Goblins is a GO this year! Pivoting from its traditional format from a 5K/2K race, CEF has launched Ghosts & Goblins GO!, which will take place Oct. 23 through Nov. 8, 2020. What Is the Carmel Education Foundation? CEF is the nonprofit funding partner of Carmel Clay Schools (CCS). CEF raises the funds to award grants that support innovation and student engagement in the classrooms. The foundation also helps provide over 100 scholarships to Carmel High School seniors. With the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, CEF is even more attuned to the evolving needs of CCS teachers and schools. CEF grants will continue to help fulfill those needs and district-wide initiatives throughout the pandemic and beyond. How Can You Participate in This Year’s Ghosts & Goblins GO!? CEF is encouraging participants of Ghosts & Goblins GO! (#GGGO) to go do whatever activities they enjoy as individuals, families or groups—safely—as a show of support for CCS’s “superheroes”—teachers, counselors, specialists, support staff, custodians, nurses, food service teams, bus drivers, tech gurus, school resource officers and administrators. This year’s Ghost and Goblins GO! experience is centered around past race traditions, so CEF is encouraging people to “GO” for a run, a bike ride, skateboarding, dancing or whatever activity you most enjoy, and if you’re really dedicated to the traditions of yesteryear, don your favorite costumes while performing these acts—exercising safety and best judgment, of course. In the spirit of innovative ideas, CEF organizers have developed a new feature as part of the #GGGO experience: a scavenger hunt where participants will go around the city to find predesignated selfie stations featuring sponsors at their places of business. Your Support Will Provide Grants for School Stabilization and Inclusion I spoke with Melissa Volz-Smith, CEF president, and Jennifer Penix, CEF executive director, about their team’s pivots with not only the fundraiser but with how the fall grants will be issued throughout the CCS district. “I’m super excited for what our team has done,” Volz-Smith expressed. “Their excitement for #GGGO has cultivated excitement for the rest of us, and while it’s going to be a change in dynamic, it doesn’t necessarily have to change in impact.” The impact that Volz-Smith spoke of is immense to the foundation and the schools that benefit from the grants. Penix explained that because of the gravity of the pandemic as it relates to the school district, CEF has also reevaluated how it will be distributing grants this fall and is focusing on two areas specifically. “Every school is going to receive a grant from the foundation that will be distributed by mid-October depending on their need timelines,” Penix shared. “The grants are focused on two areas: the stabilization of the schools as a result of COVID-19 and what is needed to maintain that stabilization to keep our kids in school, and the other focus is on equity and inclusion. That is one of our really strong initiatives that we’re working on with the school district and the task force.” The grants will provide each school within the district the tools and equipment they need as they relate to those two areas. Each of the schools will produce video shorts and impact reports on how the foundation’s dollars have impacted the teachers and students. Penix shared that the CEF board and staff are hopeful they will be back to a typical grant cycle by next year and are happy to be able to help with the general needs of each school now, concluding with, “It is our intention to be back to the individualized grants by 2021.” Register or Become a #GGGO Sponsor Today CEF is seeking community sponsors to be part of the scavenger hunt. Please visit https://www.ccs.k12.in.us/foundation/ghosts-Goblins to learn about sponsor packages or contact Jennifer Penix, executive director, at firstname.lastname@example.org. Registration for Ghosts and Goblins GO! (#GGGO) began in early September and will be $10 for individuals (any age) and $40 for a family/group up to six people. Special pricing will be available for sports teams and community groups. Participants will receive virtual “bibs,” access to special #GGGO events and participation rewards. Commemorative shirts will be available for purchase. Follow the Carmel Education Foundation on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook for updates: @CarmelEdFdn www.ccs.k12.in.us/foundation.