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Left to right (top row): Elena Vases, Jaime Zito, Dina Camera, Caroline Smith, Abi Kasselakis, Daniela Eli, Argie Vatakis, Angela Panousopoulos, Amanda Marino. Left to right (bottom row): Kimberly Mancini, Anna Mihalos, Co-presidents Vicky Giouroukakis and Christina Pullo Daloia, Alicia Cho, and Kate Zublionis. (Photo by Tower Foundation)

Tower Foundation Continues Its Mission

Manhasset alumni raise money for school initiatives
The Tower Foundation of Manhasset, Inc. is a non-profit organization established in 1991 by members of the Manhasset community to enrich the educational experience of the students of the Manhasset schools. The Tower Foundation was created in response to a simultaneous decline in state funding to the Manhasset school district and increase in its school age population. Its goal is to raise funds from the private sector, including individuals, families and businesses, and distribute these funds as grants to the Manhasset Public Schools.
“This foundation really aims to enhance projects outside of the budget that the school district cannot fund.” Said Dr. Vicky Giouroukakis, co-president of the Tower Foundation. “We are really, really appreciative of our community. It’s been extremely generous and supportive.”
Tower has donated over $2.4 million to Manhasset schools to fund a variety of innovative initiatives. Their volunteers, donors, sponsors, and contributors have funded vital projects within the school district, including the Interactive White Boards, High School Media Center Modernization, Wi-Fi, Digitizing the English Classroom Experience, Sixth Grade Chromebook, Foreign Language Learning Center, zSpace 3D Interactive Labs, Future Ready Classrooms and Engineering Equipment for the Innovation Lab.
Projects are chosen by the district or individual teachers or departments. “The district comes to us with a number of initiatives and we’ll meet with them in person. Throughout the year we’ll have conversations about the initiatives. We’ll get more information, we’ll ask questions, and then we bring initiatives to the board and as a board, we’ll discuss them. Then we’ll finalize one or two that we think that we can fund and we’ll put them out to a vote,” said Giouroukakis.
Tower raises money through a series of events, including an annual dinner dance with over 400 attendees that historically sells out every year, the Champions for Charity fundraiser at the Americana, Bingo Night and other kid-friendly events run by the Junior Tower Club.
Giouroukakis expressed gratitude for those who contributed through online events even though they might not have been able to attend the fundraiser. “This year, for example, they still participated in the online auction. And that’s been very, very helpful. We opened the auction this year the day before, and people started bidding and buying raffles online. And they’ve been donating to us, you know, through our website because they know that we do good work.”
Caroline Smith, vice president of the foundation and one of the organizers of the dinner dance, was also pleased with this year’s fundraiser. “It was such a successful event. We raise a ton of money through donations. People are very generous, donating gifts and things for us to auction, but they also donated on the site as well through sponsorships. And overall, it was a great evening. I think it brought the community together. A lot of the administration came out. They’re so grateful for our grants and our initiatives. So it was great to see their faces out too.”
The Junior Tower Foundation of Manhasset is a high school club formed in 2018 as an extension of the Manhasset Tower Foundation. “The Junior Tower members have a board now, so there’s president, a vice president and other positions. It is a formal club recognized by the high school,” said Giouroukakis.
Through the mentorship of the Tower Foundation, Junior Tower members are able to practice life and leadership skills, such as formulating formal emails, handling monetary transactions, organizing events and learning time management. Their fundraising events include bingo, a trunk or treat event held before Halloween, winter gingerbread decorating and spring egg decorating.
According to Giouroukakis, the bingo night is a particular success. “The kids organize the entire event, they plan it, they host at the high school and they engage kids in playing bingo. It’s a lot of fun. They asked for a small donation, but the kids have a really good time with it. And then the older kids also have fun engaging with children. So it’s a win-win for everyone.”
Tower Foundation is always seeking new members to volunteer and to serve on the board of directors. “Tower is a great organization for parents who work, because our meetings are in the evening, and a lot of the work we do is outside of school hours. So if you’re looking for an opportunity to get involved with your child’s education and you are working parents, Tower really is a good opportunity to do that,” said Smith.

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