Record Breaking 41st Groves Academy Gala!

Thank you to everyone who supported the 41st annual Groves Academy gala. We broke records and raised $660,000 to help close the literacy achievement gap. It was an inspiring evening celebrating Groves Academy’s leadership in advancing literacy education in our community.

All proceeds from the Gala propel the work of Groves Academy’s mission to transform lives through education. This includes advancing literacy education in our community, providing scholarships for 30% of our students and closing the literacy achievement gap with our partner schools and organizations.

More than 500 Groves friends and families joined together to help close the literacy achievement gap and propel our mission of building confidence, success and purpose through transformative learning experiences.


2018 Gala Photos

2018 Gala Video

Save the Date!

Save the Date for next year's Gala on Saturday, April 27, 2019 at the new location Hyatt Regency Minneapolis.  

2018 Gala VIPS

Keynote Speaker - Dean Bragonier

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Dean Bragonier is the Founder and Executive Dyslexic of NoticeAbility Inc, a nonprofit organization that designs and delivers proprietary curricula to students with dyslexia. Grounded in social-emotional learning, executive function methodology and project management techniques, NoticeAbility offers authentic inquiry experiences in vocational subjects that cater to the neurological strengths of the dyslexic mind: entrepreneurship, engineering, architecture and narrative storytelling (film, literature and stage).

Shaped by the challenges associated with his dyslexia and after struggling through the traditional secondary education system, Dean became a diligent and successful college student who developed a true love of learning at Bates College. Upon graduation, Dean embraced his entrepreneurial instincts and acquired a small seasonal restaurant on Martha’s Vineyard Island that he transformed into a successful full-scale enterprise. It was through this endeavor that he was able to contextualize his years of laborious academic learning and discover the true gifts of his dyslexic mind. As a social entrepreneur, Dean has founded his own nonprofit organizations and served as board member and advisor to a number of others. NoticeAbility is the culmination of Dean’s passion for education and his conviction that the advantages of dyslexia far outweigh its associated challenges.

Emcee - Don Shelby


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Don Shelby is widely considered the most decorated and honored local television journalist in the country. He has won three national Emmys, the Columbia-duPont, the Scripps-Howard, the National Distinguished Service Award from the Society of Professional Journalists and he has been honored twice with the Pulitzer Prize of broadcasting, the George Foster Peabody.

Don continues his 50 year career in reporting after retiring from daily journalism in November of 2010. He continues to practice journalism and is often read in Salon and dozens of other internet news aggregators. He now specializes in environment and science reporting, and lends his time to the Climate Science Rapid Response Team as well as the international environmental change movement – Georversiv.

He serves on 13 boards or advisory boards, is a frequent lecturer at journalism conferences. As head of the capital campaign for the Washburn Center for Children, Don led a team that raised more than $27 million dollars for children with mental health issues.

Don is an avid outdoorsman and a primitive survival specialist. He spends much of his free time climbing icefalls, mountains, hiking and canoeing his beloved BWCAW. He has a wife and three grown daughters.

Event Chair - Trish Blake




"The Groves Gala is our single largest event of the year. It is also THE most important fundraising venue for the organization. It is a time for all of the Groves community including teachers, parents, grandparents, friends, and relatives to come together to celebrate an exceptional organization and support it in a fun, celebratory way."

 Trish Blake is a parent and board member at Groves Academy.


2018 Gala Committee Members -

Event Chair - Trish Blake, Kristi Colby, Dina Conzemius, Libby Coppo, Heather Heefner Dart, Martha James, Caryn Kelly, Melissa Kestner, Anne Koby, Jen Lang, Heide McDermott, Meredith McGuirk, Shawn Pleimann, Megan Prindiville, Allison Sriver and Catherine Steffen. 

Silent and Live Auction Information

Our silent and super silent auctions feature more than 75 items including handmade wooden projects from our Project-Based Learning class, trips, wine baskets, and more.

During the program, we feature items for the live auction. Past items have included international trips, chef's table dinners, exclusive sporting experiences, and more.

If you would like to donate to our auctions, please click the button.

Item Donation

  Hotel Info

Groves is back at the Marriott City Center in downtown Minneapolis for the gala. When booking a room for the night, be sure to mention “Groves Academy” for a discounted rate.


Public parking is located across the street from the hotel, or valet parking is available for a small fee. 


We encourage elegant evening attire for the event. 

  Easy Checkout

Be sure to preswipe your credit card when checking in for an easier and fast checkout. 


Contact Us

For questions about the event, see contact information below.

Becky Busselman – Event Details, Sponsorships and Gala Committee
Ashley Gotreau – Item Donation
Joanna Lackram - Volunteers