flamingos

The Flamingo party provides critical funding for the Aspen Education Foundation, which has raised $12 million for the school district since the 1990s.

Before the event was announced to the public, tickets to the Flamingo 2018 party to benefit the Aspen Education Foundation were already gone.

That includes the $210 regular tickets as well as 19 VIP tables that fetched $10,000 each.

“Flamingo sold out before we publicized it,” said Cynthia Chase, executive director for the AEF. The party is Friday, Nov. 30, at the St. Regis and there’s a wait list. Donors also underwrote tickets for 80 teachers, Chase said.

The fundraiser looks to raise in the high six-figures for the organization that in its existence has donated over $12 million to the district in 27 years to augment specific Aspen School District programs. Those include college counseling, outdoor education and intervention programs. Flamingo earned $700,000 in 2017.

In June, the AEF also received its first-ever seven-figure donation, which came from the Altec-Styslinger Foundation and targets the Aspen Promise that aims to close the college funding gap for students who have exhausted all financial avenues.

Flamingo ticket sales were not hurt by the controversy this fall surrounding a parent group’s efforts to oust Superintendent John Maloy, nor the revelation that the district’s human resources director Elizabeth Hodges had been disbarred in Missouri, indicted in February 2016 on one count of felony forgery and handed a seven-figure civil judgment.

Board of education chairman Dwayne Romero said Tuesday the district’s investigation into Hodges’ hiring “is progressing and we’re hopeful for feedback from legal counsel shortly.”

Chase suggested families in the district are able to separate the issues and recognize the need to subsidize revered programs that could otherwise not get funded.

“People, no matter what, feel passionate about those programs,” she said. Moving the party’s date from January to late November also helped, Chase added.

A former Aspen School District teacher backed up that opinion Tuesday. “I plan on attending. I don’t like John Maloy but these are two different issues,” the person said.

Chase praised the Flamingo party’s organizing committee for spreading the word; that’s evident in the flamingos that have migrated to downtown Aspen.

While not everyone can attend Friday’s party, the silent auction is open to all and begins online at midnight, Dec. 1. Go toaspenaef.org for more information.

“It kinds of lets everybody, even if you’re not in the event you can still be involved in that process,” Chase said.

Madeleine Osberger is a Contributing Editor for Aspen Daily News. She can be reached at madski@aspendailynews.com or on Twitter @Madski99