SKI Plano celebrates 20th anniversary


The entrance to the SKI Plano Gala, which was hosted on Jan. 30. Photo courtesy of Marta Lilly.

Mari Brown, Staff Writer

The Support Kids In (SKI) Plano Gala marked its 20th anniversary and took place on Jan. 30 at the Plano Marriott in Legacy Town Center.  

The SKI Plano Gala started in 1996 and was created to assist the Plano Independent School District Education Foundation (PISDEF) in fulfilling its mission in helping all students in the Plano ISD achieve their very best, according to Jeanine Alpert, executive director of the PISDEF.

“The school district strives for academic excellence in all of our schools and programs,” Alpert said. “The foundation offers crucial financial support to ensure all students achieve their academic potential.”

The PISDEF receives the donations they need through hosting events such as SKI Plano and the Alumni Golf Tournament as well as through individual, small business and corporation donations. Since 2000, almost $9 million have been donated to Plano ISD for important programs and services to the school district.

“Some examples of the programs the foundation supports are Grants to Educators, Plano Family Literacy School and AVID,” Alpert said. 

PISDEF is available to students and the funds are given to schools and programs that are lacking financial support.

“Each year the foundation receives input from the school district on the projects or initiatives that need support,” Alpert said. “The board discusses the need and decides how to best support the district through fundraising and resource development.”

SKI Plano doesn’t only impact the students throughout the districts, but the community as a whole as well according to Jennifer Jamierson, a board member of the foundation.

“The SKI Plano Gala gives our families, supporters and community the opportunity to directly support PISD and the Education Foundation while having a relaxed and fun evening,” Jamieson said. “The event also provides the foundation with the opportunity to share the foundation’s story and the impact it makes on the students and educators.”

The gala consists of a live band, dinner, and raffle prizes with donations from their sponsors, such as Neiman Marcus and the Medical Center of Plano. It’s organized by the chair member of SKI Plano, Tracy Tomson.

“I always love staying late to dance to the great party band,” Tomson said. “It really is one of the best silent auctions anywhere, thanks to all the wonderful gift items that are donated by the generous Plano businesses that support us.”

As last year’s chairperson for the event, Jamieson knows the impact and hard work that goes into an event like this.  

“It was hard work, but working with many wonderful volunteers, PISD staff and the foundation was rewarding,” Jamieson said. “That’s important to me as I have three daughters in PISD and am a graduate of Plano Senior High. The education I received and that my children are receiving is simply the best.”