‘Lawrence Has Talent’ coming in April

The new event is intended to raise money for the Lawrence Township Education Foundation

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Singers, magicians, jugglers, comedians and anyone with a special talent can put that talent on display at the new “Lawrence Has Talent” community event, sponsored by the Lawrence Township Education Foundation (LTEF).

“Lawrence Has Talent” will be held April 11 at Lawrence High School. There will be celebrity judges and a celebrity emcee, said Karen Faiman, the executive director of the non-profit LTEF.

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Auditions for “Lawrence Has Talent” are set for Jan. 20 and Jan. 23, at a cost of $20 per act. The audition proceeds will go toward helping to fund grants in the Lawrence Township Public Schools.

There is no age limit, but performers must have a tie to Lawrence Township, Faiman said. Those ties include living or working in Lawrence Township. It also includes anyone taking talent lessons in Lawrence, such as music lessons.

Students who attend any public or private schools in Lawrence Township, as well as alumni of those schools, may audition, Faiman said.

There are two grand prizes of $1,000 each – one for contestants up to 18 years old, and one for contestants who are 19 years old and older, she said. There is also a $500 audience choice award and a $500 LTEF committee choice award.

The “Lawrence Has Talent” fundraiser is modeled after “Morristown on Stage,” which is sponsored by the Morris Education Foundation, she said. It has been running for 16 years.

Faiman learned of the “Morristown on Stage” fundraiser through the New Jersey Education Foundation Partnership, where she sits on its board of trustees. The Morris Education Foundation is a member of the partnership.

“Lawrence Has Talent” is intended to raise money for the LTEF, Faiman said. It will become the foundation’s second fundraiser. The LTEF’s signature fundraiser is Handbag Bingo.

The LTEF awards grants to Lawrence Township public school teachers for special projects that range from a few hundred dollars to as much as $100,000, Faiman said. The foundation depends on donations from individuals and corporations to generate money for the grants.

“This year is particularly challenging because a shift in the priorities from one of our longstanding corporate partners will result in 20 percent fewer funds available for grants. It is a $45,000 loss on our budget,” she said.

Also, the LTEF was unable to fund about $40,000 in grant requests, Faiman said. The foundation created “Lawrence Has Talent” to raise more money to fulfill more grant requests.

“Serving our students, educators and schools is our mission. To continue to make our schools exceptional places for creativity and learning, we decided to sponsor a second fundraiser,” Faiman said.

Since its inception in 1992, the LTEF has awarded $4.6 million in grants. They have been used for STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) training and programming; classroom technology and resources; equity and inclusion; and arts and cultural enrichment.

For more information, visit www.lteftnj.org or email info@lteftnj.org.

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