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Taste of the World

Nutley Music Boosters Association, NJ

315 Franklin Ave, Nutley, NJ 07110, USA
Nutley Public Schools
Director: Vincent Vicchiariello
Category: Fundraising Program
Award: Gold, 2020

Project Description

As school budgets are being cut, especially in the arts, music booster organizations, like ourselves, are always trying to think of new ways to raise funds for these valuable programs. Each year in January, our ‚ÄúTaste of the World” fundraiser showcases the diverse ethnic foods and music of the Nutley community and surrounding area and raises funds for the Nutley Instrumental Music Programs. Event tickets are sold for $25 and includes food, dessert, water/soda, coffee/tea. In addition music performed by our Jazz students complements the evening.

This past January 2019 we hosted our 4th annual event and featured over 40 donated dishes from area restaurants and from own Music Booster families’ favorite recipes. Restaurant names and their dishes are prominently displayed in our program and each tray is labeled. They also provide menus and information which are placed on all tables. The event has grown in both donations and attendance year after year.

The event also features a Tricky Tray (3 levels – 1 sheet for $15 / 3 for $10 and 1 for $5), a 50/50 ($10 for 10 chances), calendar raffle ($5 per box) and wine raffle. In regards to the wine raffle, every person that donates a bottle of wine receives a ticket to win all bottles donated for the evening. Additional chances can be purchased for $10 each and the winner has received approximately 100 bottles each year.

This event has rasied over $47,000 for our instrumental music programs. Funds raised from this specific event has been used to assist with the purchase of new percussion equipment at the middle school that was well over 50 years old in 2017. Most recently we were able to help with the purchase of new marching band uniforms that debuted in Fall 2018. We also were able to provide raincoats to all members to help protect this investment. We are planning on using a portion of 2019’s proceeds towards reducing each high school student’s trip cost by $100 to California in February 2020.

Target Audience

First, all families, friends and community supporters of our Instrumental Music program. We have approximately 500 students in grades 3-12 who participate in at least one of the many programs offered by the Nutley School District.

Secondary target audience would be the local restaurants, businesses and families who choose to donate food or tricky tray prizes through this event. On average, we get about 30-40 restaurants that donate food and approximately 70 tricky tray prize donations from businesses and families.

Overview of planning and execution process for this project

Timelines have varied over the last four years, however since our event is held in January we generally begin soliciting for tricky tray prizes beginning in the summer (5-6 months out) as it slower time for asking for donations before the school year begins in September. We hold an initial committee meeting in November with a follow up in December and 2 weeks before the event in January, which coincides with a Ticket Sale Night and General Booster meeting. Most communication occurs weekly via email with the entire committee.

Soliciting for food occurs after the Christmas holiday with the bulk of the soliciting happening 3 weeks before the event, with a follow up 1 week before and during the week of the event to finalize dishes and pickup/delivery times. We have found that too much lead time for the restaurants, especially because of the holidays, has caused them to either 1) forget and 2) ask for a follow up 1 week before the event date, anyway.

Community Impact

This event has and continues to grow since we started in 2016. Our goal of $10,000 since 2017 have either been met or exceeded.

  • 2016 – $8,648.16
  • 2017 – $11,182.97
  • 2018 – $14,003.81
  • 2019 – $13,602.53

Attendance has grown year after to year, with first being held at a local Elks Club, moving to a Parochial School Gymnasium to now for the last 2 years at our Parks & Recreation Center which holds up to 400 people. The bigger event site now gives us more flexibility with setting up food in a side room, trick tray prizes and general prep with a full kitchen available for our use.

Overall budget


Specific Budget Breakdown

  • Raffle License Fees: $80.00
  • Tickets: $30.00
  • Supplies (Plates, Cups, Napkins, Utensils, Tablelcoths): $450.00
  • TV & Supplemental Tricky Tray Prizes: $600
  • Misc/Other: $100

New or recurring project?


How did you update/change this project from its previous occurrence?

The overall concept has not changed from when we began this in 2016. Due to the rising attendance we have solicited more restaurants for food and tricky tray prizes to accommodate.

Challenges/obstacles that were encountered

Our biggest obstacle has been event space since attendance has grown year after year. We have been at a local Elks Lodge, a parochial school gymnasium and for the last two years at our Parks and Recreation Center which can hold up to 400 attendees.. In addition the weather is always a concern, with our first event being rescheduled to a week later because of snow, which worked to our advantage with even more people being able to attend,

Measurement of the success/effectiveness of this project?

The key to our success with this event is that food and tricky tray prizes are donated, keeping our considerably expenses down compared to having a beefsteak other type of dinner fundraiser. Don’t be afraid to ask a business or restaurant for a donation worse case is “no” and even when we had a no answer for food, they were glad to donate a gift card towards the tricky tray.

Another major key component is getting parent and students (that can drive) to pickup the food donations the day of the event (approx. 2 hours before start time). Some restaurants have delivered for us, but majority need to be picked up. Putting restaurants in order and grouping by location helps a great deal when giving parents pickup assignments, especially some our the restaurants are from out of town.

Advice for someone looking to replicate this project in their own community?

Over the past four years this event has raised approximately $47,000 to continue to support our instrumental music program.

We were very fortunate to help with the recent purchase of new marching band uniforms that debuted this Fall 2018 and also providing raincoats to all members to help protect this investment. We also teamed up with the Nutley Educational Foundation in 2017 to provide much needed percussion equipment that was well over 50 years old to our middle school program.

Along with our high school college scholarships, we were also able to continue to assist our elementary and middle school musicians by providing scholarships to a student in each of our five elementary schools and two from the middle school to attend the Nutley Summer Music Program. The Summer Music Program is a 5-week program offered to all our district students, and provides for individual/small group instruction and college music prep courses.

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