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Pressley Ridge Ice Cream Fundae is a cool fundraiser

August 17, 2018
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A happy taste-tester at the 2017 Ice Cream Fundae. This year’s fundraiser for Pressley Ridge will be held 6-9 p.m. Aug. 12 at Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium.

Pressley Ridge’s Ice Cream Fundae, arguably one of the coolest events of the summer, is back for its 24th year as the signature fundraiser for Pressley Ridge.

More than 2,000 people are expected to head to Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium on Aug. 12 to indulge in a dozen all-you-can-eat flavors of the frozen treat and vote for their favorite in a friendly competition among sponsors.

Kids are the experts

FHL Bank Pittsburgh won the coveted Silver Scoop Trophy at last year’s event. Stephanie Taylor, a senior manager, shared their strategy for taking home the award again with their Original Salted Caramel ice cream samples.

“We have an expert panel that determines our flavor,” she said. “Our chief internal auditor’s children attended an ice cream tasting earlier this summer. They were also the deciding factor in determining our winning flavor last year, so we’re pretty confident they are the right experts for the job.”

Taylor attributes their history of winning -- they also won in 2013, 2014 and 2015 - to how many of their employees love to attend the event.

“For this year, our women’s employee resource group took the lead in organizing a scooping team that is filled with some really energetic employees and their families,” she said.

Lauren Forsythe and Sue Diehm, employees at MassMutual Pittsburgh, 2016 contest winner, hope to rally votes for their ice cream flavor, Black Raspberry Chocolate Chip.

“Our booth’s theme this year is ‘School is Cool!’” Diehm said. “So stop by and get your picture taken in our school bus.”

Can’t go wrong with unlimited ice cream

Diehm said the smiles that her team sees on families at the event every year are the main reason they always return. “You can’t go wrong with unlimited ice cream eating - and the animals, music (by Island Sounds Steel Band), face painting, crafts and prizes are awesome, too.”

Stephanie Marcus, part of Lamar’s Salted Caramel Chocolate Chip scooping team, agrees the Ice Cream Fundae is a great way to spend a summer Sunday evening.

“This is our third year participating in Ice Cream Fundae and we always look forward to it,” she said. “Pressley Ridge has such an important mission that we highly believe in and we want to participate in any way that we can. And of course, there’s ice cream, so ...”

Graeter’s Ice Cream returns for its second year as presenting sponsor, donating some 400 gallons of ice cream for the fundraiser. Matthew Howell, district manager for Graeter’s, said it was a “no-brainer” that his company continues to support this cause.

“Pressley Ridge is such an amazing organization that helps so many kids and families with indispensible services, something Graeter’s can very much connect with as we pride ourselves on our family-oriented culture.” he said.

Help for children and families

Pressley Ridge President and CEO Susanne Cole said they are grateful for the sponsors and attendees that help Pressley Ridge raise funds for more than 7,300 children, adults and families that depend on their services, which include foster care, education and mental and behavioral health services.

“Our mission touches the lives of so many people right here in the Pittsburgh area in so many ways,” she said. “After more than two decades, Ice Cream Fundae has truly become a tradition that families look forward to each summer.”

Cole said their new Pressley Ridge School for Autism and Deaf, currently being built on their Marshall Avenue campus on the North Side, is expected to open for the 2019-2020 school year.

Competing for honors this year:

• FHL Bank: Original Salted Caramel

• Giant Eagle: Toffee Chocolate Chip

• Henderson Brothers: Strawberry Cheesecake

• Highmark: Cookie Dough Chocolate Chip

• Huntington Bank: Mint Chocolate Chip

• Ideal Integrations: Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip

• Lamar: Salted Caramel Chocolate Chip

• Mass Mutual: Black Raspberry Chocolate Chip

• Partlow Insurance: Dutch Milk Chocolate

• Staley Capital: Cookies Cream

• Trib Total Media: Buckeye Chocolate Chip

Graeter’s will be serving samples of its current seasonal flavor, key lime pie, in its tent near the entrance to the zoo.

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