On March 30, 2019, hundreds of philanthropists arrived at the St. George Fellowship Center, eager to do whatever they could to help the Boys & Girls Club of the Western Reserve (BGCWR) at their annual ASPIRE! fundraising event. Over a dozen Torchbearers members showed up to volunteer, excited to help out with the night’s many activities, with several more members who had attended the event.
One thing that stood out about this ASPIRE! event was the diversity of the program. More than an entire wall was covered with silent auction items, ranging from Cleveland Indians tickets to Yeti drinkware to a multitude of family fun items. The MC, Sparky, aptly named for his sparkly white jacket, kept the energy up the entire time. The BGCWR choir delighted the hearts of all in attendance, highlighted by honoring America with the National Anthem. Late Board members Laura Ritter Allio and Bruce “Bud” W. Rogers were honored by their family and longtime friends. Attendees heard from several prominent speakers, such as BGCWR President & CEO Julie Johnson, Honorary Chair Theresa Carter, Chair Elect Richard Fry, Pastor Ronald Fowler, and Youth of the Year award recipient Abrianna Johnson. The Mission Possible and Heads or Tails events raised many thousands of dollars for this great cause. Finally, no ASPIRE! event would be complete without the legendary Dessert Dash, where participants literally dashed to get the desserts for their table. In total, the event raised $227,462 for the BGCWR, which goes towards youth programs and initiatives!
Ashley Manning, TB member and BGCWR Marketing and Special Events Coordinator, coordinated the volunteers, juggling the night’s many volunteer activities, including registration, recording bids, collecting and counting donations, helping direct guests to the appropriate locations, and much more. Tom Dolezal, first year TB member, remarked, “This was an amazing event – from the heartfelt memoriam of past board members to the joyful Boys and Girls Club choir to the high-energy desert dash, it displayed a gold standard of events that all fundraisers should aspire towards.”
The night concluded with an hour of dancing, where guests and volunteers danced with glow sticks, formed a conga line, and had a blast; a perfect end to an excellent event!