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Fridley Public Schools
Three women posing next to a cardboard cutout of a tiger.

The Fridley Schools Foundation raised more than $43,000 at its annual Black & Gold Gala at Jax Cafe on Thursday, January 25. The strong showing of support from donors, sponsors and the Fridley community made the first in-person gala since 2020 a smashing success.

“The gala was successful because Fridley is so proud of its schools and community,” said Karin Beckstrand, FSF president and youth services and pre-K IB coordinator. “There is great pride in everything we do in Fridley and our community is supportive in so many ways.”

Mary Bowen

Also announced during the event was this year’s Golden Apple winner, Mary Bowen. The award recognizes the generous support to the foundation by an individual or organization. Bowen, affectionately known as “Crazy Mary,” has volunteered as Key Club and builders club advisor at Fridley High School and Fridley Middle School for 31 years.

“I wish to thank the Fridley Schools Foundation for honoring me with this award,” said Bowen in her speech. “I also want to thank the Fridley faculty and staff who have always treated me with kindness and care. Fridley is a very special place.” 

The money raised at the gala will fund foundation and district initiatives such as scholarships for graduating seniors and innovation grants for staff to receive new supplies and implement new programs.

“I want to personally thank everyone who attended, supported and donated to the gala,” Beckstrand said. “The funds raised were exceptional and will go far to support our students, staff and district. Thank you all so very much!”

If you would like to donate to the Fridley Schools Foundation, please visit