MAAAC of Orange Beach raised $445,000 for schools at a gala on May 11.By John Mullen

May 15, 2019 – Orange Beach, AL (OBA®) – Excitement for the new Orange Beach High School and Middle School spilled out in waves at the Makos Arts, Academics and Athletics Club’s fundraising gala May 11 at the Perdido Beach Resort.

“The energy and excitement in the room that night was electric,” Executive Director Jenni Starling of MAAAC said. “We hope to take that energy and raise even more money for the kids in our community.”

Jenni Starling, Executive Director of the MAAAC of Orange Beach, Alabama.It might be hard to top the $445,000 announced at the gala. The board of directors raised $250,000 from contributing sponsors, the City of Orange Beach matched $165,000 of that amount and $30,000 was transferred from the former Orange Beach Sports Association’s recent seafood fest.

But Starling said that wasn’t the only thing MAAAC set out to accomplish at the event.

“The goal with the gala was to bring the city together, celebrate the new Orange Beach Middle and High School and welcome the new principals Dr. (Erika) McCoy and Dr. (Robbie) Smith, teachers and coaches,” Starling said. “We also wanted to thank our founding sponsors who helped us reach our goal in eight short weeks. We feel that we accomplished that.”

Also, at the event, the Orange Beach Education Foundation had a silent auction to raise $13,000 for that group. The foundation is different from MAAAC and each group will have a different focus, Mayor Tony Kennon said.

“The money from MAAAC is academics, arts, athletics,” Kennon said. “That will be funding something external to the classroom such as the scholar team going to the scholar bowl. We will be funding that trip. The Education Foundation will be funding intra-classroom and professional development. That’s where the two are separated.” 

Starling said how the MAAAC money is spent will be determined by principals at the schools.

“MAAAC is focused on raising funds to ensure that every child, no matter their interests, are given the foundation to thrive in our new schools,” Starling said. “Unlike your typical booster club, MAAAC focuses on the whole child which will allow parents to receive one ask per year. These dollars will be guided into the schools with the help of Dr. McCoy who will make sure that every cent is spent where it is needed the most.”

Starling thanked all the sponsors for making the evening successful especially the staff at Perdido Beach Resort.

Nicole Woerner, Secretary of the Orange Beach, Alabama, Education Foundation.“The Real MVP for the MAAAC Gala is Perdido Beach Resort,” Starling said in a social media post. “The staff is the best of the best. They went above and beyond for this community to make sure Saturday night was a huge success. We are so blessed by this awesome village in Orange Beach.”

Those contributing sponsors are Flora Bama, Brett Robinson, Matt Bryant, Dr. Lee Ann McGill & Chuck Anderson, Beebee’s Pest & Termite Control, Sugar Sands Realty & Management, Coastal Dreams by Design, Ben Murphy Company, Orange Beach Garden Club, USSSA, South Baldwin Regional Medical Center, Bryant Bank, Cactus Cantina, Perdido Beach Resort, Greg Kennedy & K&O Investment, Big Fish Restaurant, Encore Rehabilitation and Sports Medicine, Burk-Kleinpeter, Inc., The Wharf, Turquoise Place, Spectrum Resorts, Kindred at Home, Surf Style, The Hangout, The Gulf, Professional Land Title, Inc., Coastal Therapy and Tim Payne.

One of the most unique items in the auction was a German short-haired pointer puppy that went to Ryan Long. And it came with a funny story.

“He basically tagged the puppy and asked his wife for permission before anyone else walked in the door,” Foundation Chairman Laura Thomas said. “He got semi permission and I think he cut his phone off at that point. I did see Cindy yesterday and she was smiling and said their boys loved the puppy. The puppy went to a happy home.”

Erika McCoy, principal of Orange Beach High School and husband Brent McCoy.Robbie Smith, principal of Orange Beach, Alabama Middle School and husband Mike Smith.