On the money: Noblesville Schools Education Foundation raises $130,000 at annual fundraiser


On March 15, community members and leaders 21 and older met at the Embassy Suites in Noblesville for Miller-Palooza, the Noblesville Schools Education Foundation’s sold-out night of food stations, spirits and auctions.

NSEF was created in 1987 to support Noblesville Schools by investing in academic excellence. Throughout each school year, the NSEF funds multiple initiatives for all 10 Noblesville schools.

Noblesville Schools Director of Marketing and Communications Marnie Cooke said the annual fundraiser began about 10 years ago.

“The Noblesville Education Foundation has been around for a long time, and they’ve done different fundraisers, but the actual name Miller-Palooza and the current iteration of it started within the last seven or eight years,” Cooke said.

Cooke said the fundraiser’s name has historical significance.

“Back in 1925, the Noblesville Milling Company offered to purchase all the uniforms for our athletes in exchange for having our athletic teams be called the Millers,” Cooke said. “We’ve been the Millers ever since.”

Noblesville Mayor Chris Jensen was the master of ceremonies for this year’s event, which raised $130,000. NSEF Executive Director Adriann Young and other volunteers were delighted to exceed last year’s total of $90,000 to support Noblesville Schools.

“We are beyond grateful for the turnout and support at the Miller-Palooza fundraising event,” Young said. “This event has grown over the years and has proven to be a fantastic celebration of our beloved Noblesville Schools. Our heartfelt gratitude extends to every donor, volunteer and supporter who made Miller-Palooza a resounding success.”

All proceeds go directly to the school corporation.

“Miller-Palooza is NSEF’s signature fundraiser, but they’re doing fundraising, events and activities throughout the entire year,” Cooke said. “All of the money they earn through fundraising efforts goes back to teachers for classroom enrichment grants, student scholarships and more. They provide extra resources to enhance all the learning happening in Noblesville Schools.”

Cooke said the fundraiser annually features new auction items and events.

“We did some small, new things for the first time this year, such as a dessert dash,” Cooke said. “Depending on how much money each table raised, they got to go first to pick out their desserts. This year, they also had a new auctioneer who led the live auction events.”

The fundraiser also featured returning favorites.

“It was expected that our superintendent and mayor would be doing another musical duet like last year,” Cooke said. “When people donated enough money, they got up and sang a song together.”

The silent auction featured various items, including riding to school in a firetruck, Indianapolis Motor Speedway Carb Day tickets and Indiana State Fair tickets.

“Some of the biggest items people were bidding on were the experience with Ninth Street Bistro and the Savannah Bananas trickster baseball group coming in the spring,” Cooke said.

NSEF provides classroom grants throughout the year and recently completed a few significant initiatives to improve Noblesville Schools.

“In the last year, they funded our steam museum for science, technology, engineering, art and math,” Cooke said. “All our elementary kids at Noblesville Schools go through a special STEAM class now, regularly. The foundation funded a pretty major enhancement to the museum with hands-on exhibits related to STEAM for kids to experience. Another small thing recently was that they bought eclipse glasses for all our students and staff that we’re sending home so that everybody can watch (the eclipse) safely.”

Another initiative the NSEF recently funded is a new teacher mentor program.

“The program helps educators that are new to Noblesville Schools have a smooth and successful transition,” Cooke said. “Veteran educators are selected as mentors and receive a stipend from NSEF to provide ongoing coaching and support to new educators. This helps us recruit and retain strong teachers for our students.”

Cooke said the NSEF is a “huge benefit” to all Noblesville schools, and she looks forward to watching the foundation continue to provide for the corporation.

“The education foundation is out every day creating events and opportunities with community partners to raise money to help support our students and teachers,” Cooke said. “Doing these activities helps create a culture within Noblesville schools where people want to work and stay here. It gives a lot of additional opportunities to our students and teachers. They’re a key partner in helping us create a great school district.”

For more about NSEF, visit noblesvilleschoolseducationfoundation.org.


The Noblesville Schools Education Foundation awards Miller Grants for several innovative experiences. Miller Grants are “a great resource for educators with project ideas that enhance student achievement and motivation to learn,” according to the NSEF. Grants applications are reviewed and considered based on criteria including “innovation, creativity, educational value, student impact and the ability to leverage community support or funding.”

According to NSEF’s website:

  • Funding is only available to projects impacting Noblesville Schools, staff or students. Projects must be submitted and led by a Noblesville Schools employee.
  • There is no limit on the number of proposals or awards a staff member may submit or receive.
  • No exceptions will be made for requests that fall outside of application deadlines.
  • All grant applications must be approved by the school principal and/or direct supervisor.
  • If the project is funded, NSEF will require a final report 90 days after the project is completed. Failure to complete a final report will impact any future requests for funding.
  • Any unused funds will be returned to NSEF.