Montclair, NJ – After an unprecedented year, The Montclair Fund for Educational Excellence (MFEE) is bringing back an unprecedented version of the town-wide event that brings out the spirit of community — and competition — in Montclair: The Amazing FundRACER 4.0: Clash of the Quaranteams. This is the perfect opportunity to test all those skills developed in quarantine WITH our quaranTEAMS!
On May 23rd, quaranteams of 6 or less people (kids included!) will race around Montclair in a mini-version of the competition show Amazing Race – minus the $1 million prize and the worldwide travel. This version is just as exciting and more impactful: the funds raised from this community event benefit all 6,000 Montclair Public School students! This year, donations are even more critical, since a portion of proceeds will fuel MFEE’s racial equity work in Montclair schools.
What is the Amazing FundRACER 4.0?
Traditionally, 50 teams of 2 have competed in a fast-paced and fun-filled race across Montclair on foot and by bike. MFEE is now opening the race to families and groups! And contestants will be traveling in cars – not bikes. FundRACERS complete AMAZING challenges at a series of undisclosed “Challenge Stations” to earn clues that point them to the next stop. Teams will be eliminated as the race progresses, building to a climactic final challenge between the top four teams and a heated sprint to the finish line. The event has been redesigned to minimize gatherings of large groups and to ensure full adherence to COVID safety protocols.
What makes the event unique?
The relationship-building aspect of the show inspired MFEE Executive Director Masiel Rodriquez-Vars and MFEE Board member LeAnne Korbel to create the event in 2016. The duo auditioned for the show themselves (and are still determined to get on!)
“I love how this event, like the show, reveals that the best part of relationships – teamwork, patience, synergy – can often overcome incredible obstacles and even trump physical strength or deviousness,” explains Korbel.
“I know it sounds hokey,” continues Rodriquez-Vars, “but the FundRACER reminds us that when we harness those same positive elements to support our schools, we can make headway on big challenges that we face, like school financing and racial inequities. That MFEE is allocating a portion of funds to support vital racial equity work in our schools makes this event even more meaningful.”
Some of MFEE’s work to address opportunity gaps includes: partnering with the Montclair Neighborhood Development Corporation (MNDC) to launch the Montclair Community Enrichment Center, which provides students space, technology and supervision to successfully engage in remote learning; working with Montclair Public Schools to identify and fill technology needs to support all kids; developing PEEPs (Peer-led Educational Engagement Program) to offer individualized academic support to middle schoolers struggling to navigate remote learning; growing the popular America To Me: Real Talk series into Montclair Community Learning Circles on Race to deepen racial literacy and spark thoughtful action; and launching the Excellence in Equity super grants offering $150,000 to collaborative groups of stakeholders who are innovating to promote racial and socio-economic equity in our schools.
In past years, the Amazing FundRACER has drawn town council members, principals, police officers, teachers, parents, custodians, business owners, and students to compete in unorthodox challenges. Racers have eaten non-traditional delicacies, scoured Jackals stadium for clues, hunted for treasure boxes in downtown businesses, and built tricycles to race around Glenfield park. The challenges tap into diverse talents while leading teams through an intimate tour of our town.
“We need an event that brings the community together now more than ever,” says Korbel. “Playing alongside each other, while celebrating our diverse strengths, is the perfect way to process this very challenging year.”
To learn more, donate to the event, and join the fun, visit www.mfee.org.