Fundraisers have become a common occurrence with many organizations hosting special events to bring in vital money to keep them afloat. But often, these events can be as much friend-raiser as fundraiser, a means of getting the message out and making people more aware of the need for volunteers and supporters through deed as much as cash.
Such is the case with the Big Brothers Big Sisters event coming up on August 3 at the Philmore on Broadway. An evening that begins at 6 p.m. and runs through 9:30, the night is less about bringing in cold hard cash (tickets are only $5 with VIP tables of six available for $50) than it is sharing the mission of Big Brothers Big Sisters while meeting the needs for volunteers.
“We really just wanted to put on a great event for the city of Fort Wayne so people could learn more about us,” said Joey McDonald, community development coordinator for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northeast Indiana. “There isn’t a lot of pressure to make a donation as much as we want to raise awareness.”
Many are familiar with the mission behind Big Brothers Big Sisters. The local chapter of the organization, founded in 1972, describes its efforts to “help children reach their potential through professionally supported one-to-one relationships with measurable impact.” But McDonald says there are two different ways to volunteer and other ways to support that mission.
“There’s our lunch buddies program where you can visit a school for 40 minutes once a week, and there’s the way in which you spend two to four hours twice a month with a young person in the community,” he said. “There are currently 500 kids waiting now, so we want to get the word out so we can fill that need for volunteers.”
The event will fall in the final month of the Big Brothers Big Sisters drive for “400 volunteers in 100 days,” a span that began on May 8 and continues until August 31. McDonald says they’re calling the campaign “Mission Possible” because they truly believe in the giving spirit of our community and the presence of people in our area who care enough to volunteer.
But even for those who feel they don’t have that time to invest on a regular basis, McDonald said there are ways to help them to get the word out to others who can.
“There are many ways people can help us reach into the community more,” he said. “For example, they can host a presentation at their church or their business or at any community gathering where there might be people who could attend a presentation to learn more about us. A lot of people know what we do, but they might not know how they can help. So even if someone doesn’t want to volunteer right now, they would help us just by helping us to reach into the community.”
The highlight of the August 3 event will be a performance by the Fort Wayne Funk Orchestra, one of the area’s most popular bands and one which is happy to pitch in with this worthy cause.
“We are excited to offer our talents to the Big Brothers Big Sisters organization for this great event,” says Aaron King of the Fort Wayne Funk Orchestra. “We always enjoy performing for all-ages crowds and look forward to this positive community celebration. We hope this occasion will inspire adults to join Big Brothers Big Sisters as mentors for deserving young people in the Fort Wayne area.”
In addition to this event next month, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northeast Indiana host several other fund- and friend-raisers.
Later in August, the annual Brad Miller Gala, Auction, and Golf Outing takes place August 25-27, starting with the Saturday night celebration which features food from some of the area’s finest restaurants, live entertainment, and silent and live auctions featuring unique autographed items and memorabilia. Sunday’s golf outing will take place at Glendarin Hills Golf Club in Angola beginning with a luncheon at noon and 1 p.m. tee time. On Monday the outing moves to Noble Hawk Golf Links in Kendallville and features two shotgun starts at 7:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. Play is followed by a post-outing meal and a firework display at dusk.
Miller, a former NBA star who was born in Fort Wayne and attended Purdue University, returns for this annual event every year to support an organization which provided him with mentorship in his youth.
A full list of upcoming events is available on the Big Brothers Big Sisters website (bbbsnei.org). Tickets for the Fort Wayne Funk Orchestra performance on August 3 are also available through the website.