During the Wayland Public School Foundations (WPSF) New Years Eve Bash on Dec. 31, 2023, the Foundation received a $10,000 donation from The Villa, one of the largest donations the foundation has received in recent years. “It was the best way to start the new year, doing something for our community and for our students in our schools,” WPSF President Maureen Barnowski said. “It felt so good to start 2024 on such a high note.”
During the Wayland Public School Foundation’s (WPSF) New Year’s Eve Bash on Dec. 31, 2023, the Foundation received a $10,000 donation from The Villa, one of the largest donations the foundation has received in recent years. “It was the best way to start the new year, doing something for our community and for our students in our schools,” WPSF President Maureen Barnowski said. “It felt so good to start 2024 on such a high note.”
Credit: Courtesy of Joshua Hyman

A community donation: The Villa donates $10,000 to WPSF

On Sunday, Dec. 31, 2023, the Wayland Public Schools Foundation (WPSF) hosted a New Year’s Eve Bash at The Villa restaurant. Good N U Hospitality, the new owners of The Villa, donated $10,000 to WPSF on behalf of The Villa. This donation is one of the largest donations that the Foundation has received in recent years. WPSF is an organization that strives to help teachers bring innovative programs and ideas into Wayland Public Schools through fundraising throughout the year and applying for grants. The donation and any proceeds from the Bash will go directly towards the Foundation.

The WPSF formed its partnership with The Villa and Good N U Hospitality through a connection between WPSF Business Development Committee Member Joshua Hyman and The Villa General Manager and Good N U Hospitality Director of Human Resources and Operations Katie Gingras. Now, WPSF, partnered with The Villa, will hold a monthly fundraiser in which 10% of the restaurant’s proceeds are donated to the Foundation.

It was chaos, but we all just kept going and figured out how to make it through the woods. It really was a community team effort. There’s not one person that brought us from point A to point B.”

— WPSF Business Development Committee Member Joshua Hyman

“When [Good N U Hospitality] took over The Villa, [Hyman] had been one of the first people in the Wayland community that I had connected with,” Gingras said. “A couple months down the road, we started talking about how we could further the partnership with WPSF, and then it blossomed into a once-a-month fundraiser, and then it became the New Year’s Eve Bash.”

The WPSF New Year’s Eve Bash began at the Villa Restaurant. WPSF Business Development Committee Member Jose Pena and Hyman, along with Wayland Dads Leader Scott Walters, were brainstorming fundraiser ideas for the Foundation when Pena suggested a New Year’s Eve party.

“[Pena], [Walters] and I were at The Villa having a meeting about fundraiser ideas, and we started talking about what ideas [we could do], and we had a few on the table, but they didn’t seem like they were going to generate enough revenue to really move the needle,” Hyman said. “Then, [Pena] actually came up with the idea [of] a New Year’s Eve party, and we thought that was a great idea.”

Wayland Dads offered to help with advertising and funding for the event, and Gingras offered The Villa as the venue for the event. Using The Villa as the New Year’s Eve party venue saved WPSF money, since they didn’t need to pay to rent a space.

“[Walters] really offered to support us,” WPSF President Maureen Barnowski said. “He knows the challenging fundraising environment, and he [had] come up with an idea and [said that] Wayland Dads would be happy to help promote it. They really did help promote [the event], and that was a very kind thing for them to do.”

(From left to right) Jose Pena, Maureen Barnowski, Jemo Dalipovic, Katie Gingras, Kristin Walters and Scott Walters pose under a a balloon arch at WPSF’s New Year’s Eve Bash. (Credit: Courtesy of Joshua Hyman)

Planning for the bash required phone calls to sponsors in order to gauge how much funding the event would receive. While this process was difficult to some due to time constraints, it was achievable because sponsors for the event were generous.

“The cool thing was to watch [Hyman] and [Pena] pick up the phone and call [potential sponsors], and every response was ‘what can I do for you?’” Walters said. “It was just this sense of generosity. Then, [watching Hyman, Pena and the Foundation] pulling the event all together was incredible.”

According to WPSF, the New Year’s Eve Bash became a reality due to the Wayland community spreading word about the event. Organizations such as Wayland Little League and the Wayland Parent and Children Association (WCPA) sent out newsletters, and The Villa distributed flyers with their take-out orders with information about the event.

“It was chaos, but we all just kept going and figured out how to make it through the woods,” Hyman said. “It really was a community team effort. There’s not one person that brought us from point A to point B.”

Being able to do stuff like this is what he builds the brand around. People joke that [the organization is called] Good N U Hospitality in the sense of responding to a greeting with ‘good and you,’ and it ends up being funny. But, it’s the ‘good within you,’ and that’s what this brand is built around.”

— Good N U Hospitality Director of Human Resources and Operations Katie Gingras

WPSF’s ultimate goal was to create a light, festive environment for the New Year’s Eve Bash. This goal was achieved when Gingras, on behalf of The Villa, presented the WPSF with a donation of $10,000.

“Everything was very enthusiastic,” Walters said. “We had a ton of really good food, and we had a wave of donations coming in. Everybody at the party was happy, but receiving the check was like the drop-the-mic moment of the night. It was the cherry on top, but more than that, the partnership with The Villa for this event felt special to me.”

According to some attendees, the community reactions after the check was presented were a mix of disbelief and elation, and according to Hyman, the scene was similar to that of a fan section after a winning goal.

“When [Gingras] made the announcement about the donation, it was like you were at a sporting event and you hit the winning shot,” Hyman said. “The crowd went crazy, people were clapping and cheering, and it was like we had just won the championship.”

According to Gingras, Good N U Hospitality made the donation because the owner cherishes being a part of the local community, and thus, prioritizes giving back.

“Being able to do stuff like this is what he builds the brand around,” Gingras said. “People joke that [the organization is called] Good N U Hospitality in the sense of responding to a greeting with ‘good and you,’ and it ends up being funny. But, it’s the ‘good within you,’ and that’s what this brand is built around.”

The New Year’s Eve Bash highlighted the partnership between The Villa and the WPSF, and WPSF is excited to further explore this partnership in 2024.

“I’m excited to see where the partnership can go from here,” Barnowski said. “I think between Wayland Dads and the Foundation, we want people to come to The Villa. We’re very motivated to have people come and be in this special place that we have a special relationship with. It’s really fun to think about all the different things that we can do at The Villa.”

The Villa restaurant has been in Wayland for 70 years, and serves traditional Italian food. (Credit: Katya Luzarraga)

The Villa has a piece of history in Wayland, and through its donation to WPSF, they hope to give back to a community that they believe has done a lot to cement the restaurant’s legacy in Wayland.

“It’s really important for us to give back, and that’s something we take pride in,” Gingras said. “This has been The Villa for 70 years, so I can’t stress how important it is to take care of this community, its history and the roots of this restaurant.”

Leave a Comment
Donate to Wayland Student Press
$0
$1500
Contributed
Our Goal

Your donation will support the student journalists of Wayland High School. Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment, cover our annual website hosting costs and sponsor admission and traveling costs for the annual JEA journalism convention.

Donate to Wayland Student Press
$0
$1500
Contributed
Our Goal

Comments (0)

All Wayland Student Press Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *