Carmel Education Foundation "Taste of Carmel" planning team.

Carmel Education Foundation Celebrated the 20th Annual Taste of Carmel

On Friday, March 8, 2024, Carmel Education Foundation (CEF) celebrated the 20th annual Taste of Carmel at 502 East Event Centre in Carmel. The theme of the event, Starry Nights, was the perfect backdrop to showcase over 40 local food and beverage establishments, a raffle featuring an Indy Facets necklace custom designed to commemorate the 2024 solar eclipse, two Pedego electric bikes, and a 2025 Taste of Carmel VIP Package.

Local Carmel area restaurants sampled their wares to the crowd at the 502 Event Center – including 50 Acres Farms.

Over 1,200 guests attended the event, representing CEF community partners, Carmel Clay Schools educators and parents, and many other friends of CEF. A special thank-you to our Premier Sponsors. For the third year, CoasterStone provided custom car and table coasters and State Bank hosted the First Taste VIP Party. 185 Promotions and Apparel sponsored the Last Taste After Party for the second year in a row. Other Premier partners were Fanning Howey, the City of Carmel and Ed Martin Automotive, all of whom are engaged with CEF in multiple ways.

Guiding guests throughout the evening were emcees Jeff Worrell of Good Day Carmel and Carmel City Council, and Jack Russell, President of OneZone. This dynamic duo represented the collaboration between Carmel Education Foundation and the community. Jennifer Penix, executive director of CEF says “CEF is an integral part of our community. We create partnerships with local businesses, organizations and community members to provide resources to students, staff and families of Carmel Clay Schools. While we rely on the financial generosity of companies and individuals, we really focus on building relationships with people who care about our schools. Many volunteers serve on CEF committees or the board, and are integral in connecting our mission to others. Jack and Jeff were the perfect representation of the connection between CEF, the business community and our city as a whole.”

Guiding guests throughout the evening were emcees Jeff Worrell of Good Day Carmel and Carmel City Council, and Jack Russell, President of OneZone.

More than $80,000 were raised to support Carmel Education Foundation’s mission of supporting Carmel Clay students in academic achievement and lifelong learning. Funds will be used to support the ACHIEVE Initiative, which provides equitable and accessible programs focused on workforce preparation to district-wide grade levels, the Great Idea Grant Program, and the state’s largest public education foundation scholarship program.

Penix attributes the success of this event to a dedicated group of volunteers who worked tirelessly in the planning, along with the enthusiastic support of the CEF board of directors and assistance from Detail and Design.

Special guests of the evening were three students, and their teachers, who received a student-led grant from CEF in 2023. Their grant, titled Color our Community with Culture, funded a collection of bilingual books that have been used to engage multilingual learners in peer reading, benefiting all students at Forest Dale Elementary. Alison Wren, a Forest Dale teacher and one of the three teacher sponsors for this grant, shared that “the students who received this grant have gained incredible confidence and leadership skills by applying for this grant and seeing how successful it is with their peers.”

More than $80,000 was raised through the course of the evening.

When the students took center stage to share their story, the smiles on the faces of guests were a testament to what the foundation is all about – inspiring learning in our future leaders.

A special thank-you to all of our additional sponsors: The Current, Diamonds Direct, Carmel Magazine, Summers Plumbing, Heating & Cooling, Church Church Hittle & Antrim, Dentistry on 116, Needler’s Fresh Market, Accolade Wealth Management, Skillman, Pyatt Builders, Good Day Carmel, Qtego Fundraising Services, OneZone, Party Time Rental, Ascension St. Vincent, Koorsen Fire & Security, Lovely Day Photo Booth Rentals, Dean Dorton, Hallmark Orthodontics, Clay Terrace, Flanner Buchanan, Metronet, Jolene Broad Photography, Oberer’s Flowers, PIP Printing, Town Planner, Bose McKinney & Evans LLP, Kroger Gardis and Regas, LLP, Centered By Mel, LLC, and Taist.

Visit to view event photos, and to view all vendors and silent-auction donors. If you are interested in being involved in sponsoring or planning Taste of Carmel 2025, or with Carmel Education Foundation in any capacity, contact Jennifer Penix at

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