By Punch Correspondent Karen Garnick
Fair Chance put the FUN in fundraiser last Friday night at their 10th Annual Butterfly Bash. The exquisite venue (Andrew W. Mellon Auditorium) really set the tone for the evening. This, combined with a delicious spread provided by Ridgewells catering, an open bar, and live music all night by the Winn Brothers, left people enjoying themselves well into the evening.
Believing that every child in DC deserves a fair chance to succeed, the mission of Fair Chance is to strengthen the sustainability of community-based nonprofit organizations and leaders to transform the lives of children and youth living in poverty. They partner with nonprofit organizations, primarily in Wards 5-8, where childrenâ€™s needs are the greatest. This year, the money raised will to go 10 youth-serving organizations, touching the lives of over 1,000 local children and teens.
The programming was short but meaningful. It opened with young boys of the Life Pieces to Masterpieces program, giving a poetic tribute to Fair Chance. Next up was founder Amanda Marshall, who started Fair Chance in 2002. She chooses for the organization not to be in the spotlight, but it should be noted that ten years later they are thriving, plus pulling together resources to help other nonprofits succeed. Executive Director, Maria Nagorski, said that every child in this city, no matter their background or economic circumstances, should be able to find programs to help them learn and grow.
The most impressive moment of the night was the â€œ25 in 5â€ flash cash appeal. To reach the goal of raising $300,000 that evening, the audience was challenged to raise the remaining $25,000 in 5 minutes. The auctioneer (if you will) started with donations of $2,500, and got at least 4! The donation amount decreased to $1,000, $500, $250, and so on. Encouraging people with lines such as, â€œthis is the time for the one percenters to shine!â€ and â€œthis is true patriotism! This is what makes America great,â€ attendees were happily opening their checkbooks to contribute to this wonderful cause (the timing of this event was strategically an hour after the bar was opened). The goal was reached, and then some. In just over 5 minutes, $30,000 was raised, making the final amount fundraised an incredible $325,000.
To date, Fair Chance has worked with 70 nonprofit organizations and impacted over 60,000 children and their families. 90% of these continue to thrive. The specialty cocktails and dancing made this evening fun, but I was honored to be a part of helping raise hundreds of thousands of dollars that will go directly into our community.
Correspondent Karen Garnick is a California native trying to get accustomed to the East Coast lifestyle (and weather!). By day, she works as an event planner for a think tank, and by night you can find her out on the town. She is a world traveler, loves baby animals, and enjoys curling up to a good book and glass of wine. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.