Painted chairs proved profitable for a Milford group that raises money to boost local education.

The Milford Education Foundation raised more than $12,000 at its first Chair-ity Auction held at the end of August. The fundraiser featured 10 handcrafted Adirondack-style chairs, painted by local youth organizations that created unique designs celebrating everything from the city’s recent 375th anniversary to its shoreline culture.

Celebrity auctioneer Brian Smith entertained attendees at the auction, held at Costa Azzurra Restaurant.

The proceeds will help fund future teacher mini-grants and other educational enrichment programming.

The Chair-ity Auction brought together many different parts of the community. Students at Jonathan Law High School built the chairs. The Milford Arts Council paired artist mentors with young designers from Foran and Jonathan Law high schools, East Shore and West Shore middle schools, The Academy, Saint Gabriel’s School, the Boys & Girls Club of Milford, and the Woodruff Family YMCA.

For three weeks, each chair was displayed outside various local businesses and at City Hall to raise awareness for the event and as part of the Foundation’s Facebook Selfie Contest. James Maroney, past president of the Foundation and auction co-chair, said, “The goal of this project was to not only raise funds for our teacher mini grants but to involve many people from the community in an educational experience. Local artists, students and Milford businesses participated and were very excited about the idea of working together.”

In 2013, MEF awarded close to $5,000 in teacher mini-grants to nine Milford Public Schools teachers for creative enrichment projects.

The Foundation plans to double the size of this program with two $6,000 awards per academic year, one in November and the other in May.

“The teacher mini grant program is our opportunity to invest in alternative education practices that inspire both teachers and students,” said Foundation President Augie Harrigan. Last year’s recipients, like Joseph Foran High School teacher Janet Acampora, designed projects that not only taught new skills but also changed student perspectives. Acampora used her mini-grant to run a finance simulation project that helped students to make connections between choices and consequences in real-life money management and career decisions.”

The Foundation will donate $1,000 of the auction proceeds to the Milford Arts Council’s train station mural project. Local business sponsors Metro Star Properties, Molly Land Co., and Colony Paint donated the materials and supplies used to create all of the chairs.

For more information about the Milford Education Foundation go to MilfordEdFoundation.org.