The foundation will host its first major fundraiser since 2019 when it hosts the “Dream Big for Education” gala Friday, May 6 at The Farm at 42.

The gala will include performances by students from local high, middle and elementary schools. It will also feature art and a silent auction as well as a catered dinner.

Performers are scheduled to come from Cleveland, Clayton and Smithfield-Selma high schools, McGee’s Crossroads, North Johnston and Swift Creek middle schools and Benson, Cooper Academy and Princeton elementary schools.

Items up for bid in the silent auction will include a mountain cabin retreat, various Johnston County merchandise and raffle tickets from several local businesses.

The featured speaker will be Catherine Truitt, state superintendent of public instruction and a former Johnston County teacher. Johnston County Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Eric Bracy will also speak, as will former JCEF scholarship recipients. Remarks will also be delivered by JCEF President Exit Brownlee.

Proceeds from the gala will go toward annual scholarships awarded by the JCEF and toward a grant program for teachers to help with programs in their classrooms.

Hopefully, JCEF will be able to expand the grant program to not only support teachers with creative classroom projects, but also individual students, support staff and groups who are committed to education. The funding raised through the gala will also help the JCEF to continue its day-to-day support of teachers, students and staff in Johnston County.

Sponsorships are available at several levels. Depending on the level of sponsorship, they can include exclusive “presented by” recognition, a one-time teacher grant in the company’s name, recognition by the master of ceremonies throughout the event, tickets and a reserved table, inclusion in a rotating logo display on auction software and digital screens and the company’s logo, name and link featured on the JCEF website and on social media postings.