MEO holds annual Gala 

Marian Educational Outreach Executive Director Emily Schnapf speaks during the Marian Educational Outreach Gala. The Message photo by John Rohlf

By John Rohlf

The Message assistant editor

Community members filled the Easterseals Crescent Room last weekend for the Marian Educational Outreach’s annual celebration event. 

The MEO Annual Gala, which was held April 6, is aimed at helping to raise money for diocesan schools.  The event featured silent and live auctions and entertainment by Dave & Rae Entertainment. 

“Thank you all so much for being here,” MEO Executive Director Emily Schnapf said. “What a wonderful night to be able to celebrate in this awesome space and celebrate these amazing kids that we consider our stars.”

Individuals had the opportunity to bid on a variety of desserts during the silent auction.
The Message photo by John Rohlf

After Schnapf completed her introduction at the start of the event, Bishop Joseph M. Siegel delivered a message through a video prior to the start of dinner. Bishop Siegel thanked attendees for their presence at the event. He said countless students over the years have benefitted from this outreach. He said it is his prayer that God will continue to bless the efforts of all those associated with the Marian Educational Outreach, as well as the students, families, teachers and administrators. 

Father Andrew Thomas led the prayer after Bishop Siegel’s message. 

Money raised at the annual gala helps serve students at schools in the Diocese of Evansville. The funds help purchase intervention materials and programs or tools that are needed in the classroom, Schnapf said. She noted the funds also send teachers to training so they feel equipped to teach a child with a disability. 

“We really try to meet the needs of not only our families but also support our special education and our gen ed (general education) teachers at the same time,” Schnapf said. 

An event participant raises her number during the Marian Educational Outreach Gala April 6. The Message photo by John Rohlf

Schnapf said the annual Gala was revamped within the last five years. While it is more of a less formal gathering, it is still their only annual event in which they meet in person with a group of people.  She said turnout for the event stays relatively consistent from year-to-year.  There were 175 attendees at this year’s event. While attendance was “a little bit down this year,” attendance around 200 is a comfortable spot for the organization, Schnapf said. 

“That usually leads to a very successful event for us,” Schnapf said. “Obviously, we are extremely grateful for the support from the community that we currently have. But we also have so many amazing new donors that have come on.” 

Marian Educational Outreach works with the schools in the diocese to help disperse the funds to fit their need. Schnapf said MEO has “a great relationship with our Catholic schools.” She noted they do two grant cycles each year that are open to diocesan teachers. She said schools can get funding any time of the year. 

Marian Educational Outreach is an Evansville-based nonprofit that is committed to ensuring students with unique learning needs and their teachers have as many opportunities for success as possible while remaining in the Catholic school system. The organization has been giving back to the community for the past 66 years.