Maplewood Oktoberfest raises $8.5K for Achieve Foundation

Photo Courtesy of Eileen Collins Neri
From left are Charlie Pollock, Bianca and Chris Froelich, Vanessa Pollock, Eileen Collins Neri, and Farnaz and Adam Heydt. The Froelichs and Heydts are co-owners of SOMA Brewing Co.

MAPLEWOOD, NJ — Hundreds of people of all ages turned out to enjoy the second Oktoberfest at The Woodland on Oct. 5, helping to raise $8,500 for the Vanessa Pollock Music Initiative of the Achieve Foundation. 

“We are honored that the organizers of Oktoberfest chose the Achieve Foundation as the recipient of funds raised at their amazing event again this year. It demonstrates their commitment to the community, the public schools and music education opportunities for all students in the South Orange-Maplewood School District,” Achieve Executive Director Eileen Collins Neri said. 

The VPMI was established by Vanessa and Charlie Pollock five years ago to improve music resources and expand access to music education for all students in the SOMSD. Specifically, VPMI funds have underwritten instrument rentals so all students can participate in band and orchestra at the elementary and middle school levels; provided scholarship awards for private music lessons for Columbia High School students who have demonstrated exceptional musical talent; refurbished instruments owned by the district; and fulfilled grant requests from teachers and administrators within SOMSD that relate to music education. 

“I am blown away by the radical generosity of the SOMA Brewing owners and their selflessness,” Vanessa Pollock said. “Their small business is truly making a difference in our community and it is an honor to know them. The Oktoberfest donation alone ensures that all children in our school district who need financial assistance to rent an instrument for this school year will be able to do so. Because of this gift, every child will be able to participate in band and orchestra!”

“On behalf of the SOMA Brewing Company, we are thankful for our volunteers and communities who helped make the second annual Oktoberfest a huge success,” SOMA Brewing co-owner Adam Heydt said. “It’s our honor to serve this wonderful SOMA community and this amazing music initiative.” 

The next fundraising effort for the VPMI will be a holiday concert performed by Charlie Pollock and Friends. Bring the whole family to hear the sounds of the season performed by Broadway talent at the CHS auditorium on Sunday, Dec. 8, at 6 p.m. Reserve your tickets now at