Amherst Education Foundation hosting mini-golf fundraiser

May 10, 2022 | Dylan Corey

AMHERST – The Amherst Education Foundation (AEF) will host its second annual mini-golf fundraiser on May 21 at the Western Mass. Family Golf Center on Route 9 in Hadley from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. The event originally started as a way to fundraise outside during the pandemic.

AEF Board of Directors President Shawn Fortin said they host two fundraising events per year, and have conducted the October Trivia Bee virtually in response to the coronavirus pandemic. The outdoor setting brings the community together for family-friendly fun in the spring, Fortin added, and they charge $50 per group of up to five people. You can register to play or purchase raffle tickets online at

“The events provide critical funds for the Amherst Education Foundation (AEF) to continue making grants available to Amherst-area public schools, and mini-golf seemed like the perfect fit for the spring,” Fortin said. “Last year we had over 100 people attend the mini-golf fundraiser and 22 sponsors. With the help of local businesses, organizations and individuals, we ended up raising $9,506. The money went towards helping to fund AEF’s 2021-2022 Excellence Grant Awards, which totaled $30,000.”

That money helped fund projects varying from garden learning and ethnic studies, a playground communication picture board at Wildwood Elementary School, a restorative justice program at Summit Academy, a STEM tutoring center for Grades 9-12 and more.

“This month’s event will help us raise funds for the 2022-2023 Excellence Grant Awards. We awarded a total of $35,269 in support of programs throughout the Amherst-Pelham School District: Crocker Farm’s Dash Robots for the technology lab, Wildwood’s PBL School Leader Network Participation, Amherst High School’s Restorative Justice Leadership Program, and Theater For All which will be spread through the elementary schools in Amherst,” Fortin said. “This year we hope the mini-golf event and raffle will raise over $10,000, and so far have 24 sponsors including underwriters Amherst College, Isenberg School of Management, Larien Products, Pulpit Hill Supply Inc., and Regional Economic Models Inc.”

Fortin said they put out a request for funding which is distributed to teachers and staff in the Amherst, Pelham, Leverett and Shutesbury public schools toward the end of each year. After evaluating the strength of proposals and the amount of funding available to distribute, the AEF selects who will receive the grant.

“Public schools are a critical foundation of any community, and their funding is imperative,” Fortin said. “We are so lucky and appreciative to have a community that is willing to come together and financially support the AEF’s mission of helping Amherst-area public schools provide a challenging and enriching educational experience that maximizes the learning potential of every student, and prepares them to succeed in the 21st century. Especially during these very difficult times, it is important to encourage teacher innovation and excellence, and to be responsive to emerging educational needs. All students regardless of ability, race, ethnicity, gender or socio-economic status deserve the best education our community can deliver. Through the grants AEF provides we hope to do just that.”

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