It was the coolest event on one of the hottest nights in Austin as Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Texas’ 14th annual Ice Ball gala exceeded all expectations. A record-breaking $850,000+ was raised – a $200,000 increase over last year – with donations still coming in and final numbers expected to exceed this early total.
A sold-out crowd attended the special event which was held for the first time at the Fairmont Austin hotel on Saturday, August 25. The black-tie affair was an elegant evening focused on raising funds to create more life-changing friendships between at-risk youth and caring adult mentors.
“We were honored to have over 800 generous friends and supporters gather to make a BIG difference for children in this community,” said Brent Fields, BBBS CEO. “The unprecedented success of the event, with over $850,000 raised, will allow us to provide mentoring services to more than 700 kids who deserve the opportunity to reach their greatest potential. We’re thrilled at the confidence and trust the community has placed in us to continue providing our transformational services for children and families in Central Texas.”
As attendees arrived, they were welcomed into a vibrant pre-event gallery where they enjoyed opportunities to take event photos beside the gala’s signature ice sculpture, and visit a pop-up shop filled with items from Kendra Scott’s new fall jewelry line. Guests also participated in a Big Board mini live auction, bid on numerous exclusive silent auction items, and purchased raffle tickets for a chance to win a trip for 4 to New Orleans, Miami, Chicago or Montreal.
A Dixieland band, Memphis Train Revue, led guests into the ballroom for the main portion of the evening where they enjoyed a delicious dinner, an exciting live auction, and a mission-centered ‘Fund A Friendship’ donation drive. Emcee Quita Culpepper, with KVUE-TV, got the program started.
New to Ice Ball 2018 was auctioneer Heath Hale and the Cowboys. This team has raised over $14 million for charities this year. Using the classic auctioneer patter, Heath and his team motivated the inspired crowd to bid top dollar on many exciting auction packages.
The gala’s 2018 live auction packages included a UT tailgate party for 30 to 40 guests at Sour Duck Market, a King Ranch hunt with Colt McCoy, a wine lover’s trip to the Burgundy wine region of France, a dove hunt in Argentina, a golf trip and 5-night stay at a baronial castle in Scotland, a luxury trip to Jackson Hole, Wyoming with a scenic tour of the Grand Tetons, and a “choose your own adventure” package featuring trips to 20 different world-wide destinations, among others.
A surprise addition to the live auction came courtesy of Austin Police Chief Brian Manley. The Chief offered guests the opportunity to bid on an officer ‘ride-along’ experience to demonstrate the police department’s support for BBBS.
A highlight of the evening was the match story featuring Big Brother Chris and his Little Brother Keontray. Their relationship provided attendees with a powerful example of the life-changing impacts Big Brothers Big Sisters’ services have for children and adults alike.
“The Austin community came out and really supported our kids Saturday night! It was a packed house!” said Lauren Portley, Vice President of Development for BBBS. “Our mission takes precedence in planning this annual event, and BBBS’ Executive Board, Ice Ball Host Committee, and staff worked so hard to pull off what turned out to be our best Ice Ball yet! At the end of the day, it’s all about serving our kids and making life-changing friendships that allow children to achieve their biggest possible futures.”
At the end of the evening, Ashley and Justin Yarborough, this year’s Ice Ball Gala Chairs, and the 2018 Ice Ball Host Committee, were recognized for hosting such an exceptional event. The celebration continued into the early morning hours as everyone enjoyed dancing to the music of Memphis Train Revue, and, as this year’s gala came to a close, guests left knowing that their support for Ice Ball 2018 will make a positive difference for hundreds of children in Central Texas for years to come.
See Ice Ball event photos here
Watch our BBBS Mission video here
See our Match Story video here
See photo booth photos here
Special thanks to our top sponsors:
BB&T, Big Bend Brewing Co., Kendra Scott; Heritage Title Company, RSM, US Micro Products; Sam Bassett, BMC Software Inc., The Christopher & Ross Families, Dr. Achal & Rajal Dhruva, Heather & Dominick Granato, H-E-B Tournament of Champions, Moody Bank, Connie & Bill Nelson, Pape-Dawson Engineers, Parsley Energy, ScaleFactor, Thessaly Startzell & Sam Burd, Candy & Rhett Stone, Strangeworks, Texas Capital Bank, Urbanspace, Wells Fargo, and Wilson, Sonsini, Goodrich, & Rosati Foundation.