Raison d’etre. A time to pause, and reflect during the American Cancer Society’s Hope Ball.

February 28, 2011

As a Professional Fundraising Auctioneer, I am awarded the opportunity to witness and take part in countless captivating and emotionally engaging events.  Each and every nonprofit organization that we have the privilege of partnering with has a raison dêtre – a reason for existing within the community.  And with each and every auction and event that transpires, it’s our hope that as the evening comes to its inevitable close, that guests have opened their hearts to the organization’s mission at hand, and take a little piece of that nonprofit’s raison dêtre home with them.

On rare occasions, guests might even leave the event with a new perspective on their raison dêtre, and such was the case at the American Cancer Society’s Hope Ball.

The evening was filled with a love for the mission at hand – giving Portlanders the opportunity to participate in the fight against cancer while enjoying a spectacular evening of great food, drink, and a hearty lightening round Live Auction!

Like most Auction and Events, the evening also included a Special Appeal – a moment of giving which takes place during a slated portion of the time line, wherein guests can join together collectively to support the mission at hand by making a direct contribution at a level of giving that proves to be meaningful to them. When incorporated, a Special Appeal opens guests hearts and minds, creating a potential for support that is unending.

For me personally, this element always proves to be the most compelling portion of the event, for it gives the organization a chance to convey their core focus, philosophy, and funding needs to all of the guests in attendance. A Special Appeal is a remarkable opportunity to highlight the core focus of an organizations efforts, conveying their specific needs for funding, all the while  acknowledging the profoundly positive impacts that direct support and funding could provide their organization.   During this particular Auction and Event, the focus for our Special Appeal centered around The American Cancer Society’s Camp U-Kan-Du and the Cancer Survivor College Scholarship Program. During the overview of these two programs, an incredibly inspiring fourteen-year- old girl named Sara Turley bravely made her way to the stage, stood with poetic independence, and gracefully shared with the audience a humbling tale about her raison dêtre. Diagnosed with terminal cancer seven years ago, Sara conveyed her recognition that the dawn of each new day is truly a gift, and thus the present.

{photo by johnna wells}

As she accounted for the many things that she was unable to do as a result of her cancer and ongoing treatments, she made sure that she accounted for the things that she could do – two fold.  Her words, her tone, and her presence, made certain that the audience recognized that she was choosing to live – to live each minute, each hour, and with every passing day that she was given.  As I watched this beautiful young girl eloquently open up to our audience and share her story with captivated listeners, I was so very humbled by her spirit. Her tenacity and zeal for every morsel of life was an inspiration to every person in the room that night, and her passion for life in it’s present form, in all of its heartache and raw beauty, has forever changed my raison dêtre.

Come Out to Show Your Support for the American Cancer Society

February 24, 2011

Tables have been sold out for this year’s Hope Ball, but it is not too late to be able to purchase Individual Tickets for the entire evening or for the After Party!

Hope Ball is the American Cancer Society’s annual fundraiser, and gives Portlander’s the opportunity to participate in the fight against cancer while enjoying a spectacular evening of entertainment, and great food and drinks throughout the course of this auction and event! All proceeds raised through the Portland Hope Ball support the American Cancer Society’s mission of funding cancer research, education, and support programs. This research has led to life-saving information and the development of state-of-the-art technology to improve the quality of life for cancer patients and their families.

This year’s Hope Ball theme, “Arabian Nights” will allow guests to experience an evening dedicated to imagination and wonder THIS SATURDAY February 26, 2011, at Pure Space – 1315 NW Overton, Portland, OR 97209.

Watch as the talented artists of Pendulum Aerial Arts thrill the audience with stunning aerial and stage performances. What’s that jingle? It’s the sashaying belts of elegant belly dancers, moving effortlessly through the crowd. Hear that? It’s the call of the Arabian marketplace, as merchants hawk their colorful wares. Sip on the finest libations at the cocktail reception, buy a fabulous package during the Live Auction, with some of the highlights including:

  • Weekend Getaway to Napa Valley
  • One Week at Black Butte Ranch with a Round of Golf and Spa Treatment
  • A Trip to Provence – the heart of France’s Champagne Region
  • A Weekend Excursion to Washington Wine Country Via Private Jet
  • A Week’s Stay in a Puerta Vallarta Penthouse
  • Tour the Today Show with Ann Curry

During the Hope Ball Live Auction, guests have the opportunity to make a direct, tax-deductible contribution to the American Cancer Society’s Camp Ukandu as well as the Cancer Survivor College Scholarship Program during the Special Appeal Paddle Raise.

Following the Dinner and Auction, Pure Space will open up to more guests to dance the night away with Bhangra Lessons taught by Bollywood and Bhangra Dance Instructor Prashant Kakad at the Hope Ball After Party.  These After Party tickets are included with the purchase of a $250 Hope Ball Ticket, however additional tickets for those not attending the main Hope Ball event can be purchased for just $25 in advance, and include drinks and entertainment from 10:00PM until midnight! Tickets at the door are $35.

What you need to know:

Dress: Please arrive dressed in cocktail or semi-formal attire.

Parking: We have parking available in a lot located on the corner of NW 12th and Pettygrove.

What to Bring: Your dancing shoes, your credit card, and heartfelt support for the American Cancer Society!

A Record Breaking Evening with Our House!

February 23, 2011

It was an incredibly exciting evening at Midnight at the Oasis – the 2011 auction and event for Our House that took place over the weekend!

From start to finish, this magical, Moroccan themed event was an unprecedented evening filled with entertainment, indulgence, and most importantly, inspiration!  Upon arriving at the Portland Art Museum, guests were welcomed by Portland’s notorious, Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, who were there to remind guests that the evenings festivities were thoroughly Portland and thoroughly indulgent indeed!

{photo by keely montgomery}

Therapy llamas, Rojo and Smokey, set the perfect tone as guests entered the foyer at the Portland Art Museum. Both llamas adorned in their own Moroccan attire, provided a fun and lovingly interactive back drop for guest photos ! (The photos taken that evening will be shared with guests post-event).

{photo by keely montgomery}

A fantastic array of Silent Auction packages filled the Sunken Ballroom at the Portland Art Museum, and additional revenue generating opportunities such as a “Platinum Ticket” Raffle (a raffle opportunity wherein the winner can choose a Live Auction item/package as their prize), provided guests with endless opportunities to showcase their support for Our House a beloved Portland nonprofit organization that inspires people with HIV/AIDS to live well by providing integrated health and housing services with compassion, collaboration, and respect.

After the Silent Auction came to a close, guests were invited up to the Kridell Grand Ballroom of the Portland Art Museum where they were enticed with the evening’s lively entertainment!

Our House has taken the traditional model of a Live Auction and Event, and has cleverly and creatively morphed that model into an Auction and Event experience like no other! Our House has shown that by weaving uniquely fabulous pieces of entertainment into the forefront of the event, that they can generate an engaging level of excitement and momentum which later serves as a fundraising catalyst as the evening progresses towards the Live Auction! One example of this was showcased in the Welcome Video that Auction and Event Co-Chairs Gary Maffei and Marc Lintner created in partnership with Magaurn Video Media.

Rather than giving basic general welcomes and sponsorship recognitions at the start of the program, Our House has created an experience for the guests that is much more visually enticing – using video footage filmed on a green screen and incorporating thematic background images, allowing the guests to travel in this instance to various parts of Northern Africa!

Below you can see “Midnight at the Oasis” Auction and Event Co- Chairs, Gary Maffei and Marc Lintner thanking their wine sponsor for the evening, while sipping it from the sweeping landscape of the Sahara Desert!  Sponsors are thrilled to be involved with an event that utilizes this kind of recognition!

Auctino and Event Co- Chairs Gary Maffei & Marc Lintner

The fantastically talented team at Magaurn Video Media can offer their expertise to put something as unique as the Our House welcome video together for your auction and event as well!

Following their special welcome video, Our House kicked off their program for the evening with a beautiful performance by Polaris Dance Company, which was concluded with fire dancers positioned on each corner of the room to heat things up a bit, adding yet more fuel and excitement to the Live Auction that was still to come!

Polaris Dance Company {photo by keely montgomery}

{photo by keely montgomery}

At the culmination of the fire performance, two striking beauties entered the ballroom carrying a treasure chest onto the stage, which was subsequently lit on fire! Out of this Moroccan treasure chest emerged the evening’s Master of Ceremonies, local actor/singer extrordonaire, Dale Johannes. Talk about an entrance!

After Dale’s emergence from the fiery treasure chest, our Principal Fundraising Auctioneer, Johnna Wells, was carried out to the stage by the same beautiful entourage that introduced the evening’s Master of Ceremonies.

{photo by keely montgomery}

It’s not often that our Auctioneers make this sort of entrance to the stage, but such creative and wildly exciting elements of entertainment and thematic inclusions certainly set a decadent tone leading into the Live Auction – a stellar format that in many instances leads to fundraising success!

{photo by keely montgomery}

Once the Live Auction began, there was no stopping the energy in the room and the unwavering support for Our House. Portland’s most remarkably generous and spirited donors gathering together for one exotically entertaining evening, raising over $400,000 – an Our House fundraising record – in support of people living with HIV/AIDS. In support of Our House! And we here at Benefit Auctions 360 are truly honored to have had the opportunity to join them in that unwavering support!

Benefit Auctions 360 Team for the Our House Auction and Event!

Under the Big Top – Albertina Kerr Centers raises the fundraising roof at their Winter Carnival!

February 21, 2011

On Friday, February 18th, Albertina Kerr supporters gathered under the big top in support of our communities most vulnerable. The annual “Spotlight on Kerr” auction and event took on a bold new thematic twist this year, transforming Portland’s Pure Space (an urban venue in the Pearl District) into a Winter Carnival!

This was an evening filled with fun and festive activities, each allowing guests the opportunity to join Albertina Kerr Centers “Army of Angels”, thus supporting their core mission -to be a leading provider of services to children, adults, and families with emotional or mental health challenges and developmental disabilities.

Our Winter Carnival was packed full with supportive guests perusing through Carnival Alley, which was brimming with Silent Auction packages, Fortune Tellers, Golden Tickets (a raffle opportunity wherein guests purchase a raffle ticket for the chance to win any item/package featured in the Live Auction!), and a Wine Toss!

The Pearl District’s new event center Pure Space, served as the perfect backdrop for this fundraising fete! A blank canvas of sorts, Pure Space provided a spacious template for Albertina Kerr Centers to bring their creative and thematic ideas to light!

3 Leg Torso performed as guests made their way into the dining room to be seated for dinner, unleashing their eclectic synthesis of modern chamber music, creating the perfect setting for Albertina Kerr supporters to unleash their giving power!

As this soiree continued, new and long standing Albertina Kerr supporters joined forces, raising an approximated $90,000 in the Special Appeal alone – proving that the Special Appeal (a moment of giving during the course of a fundraising event where guests can give cash contributions to showcase direct support for the mission at hand) is an integral source of fundraising revenue!

Although the final auction and event totals are not yet in, the evening was a sweeping success! As we have said before here at Benefit Auctions 360, we are so fortunate to have the opportunity to partner with such incredible organizations within our community, and Albertina Kerr Centers and their “Army of Angels” that stood in support of their work is such a shining example of the many stars within Portland’s nonprofit community!

Our House – Midnight at the Oasis!

February 11, 2011

On Saturday, February 19th, 2011, the Portland Art Museum will come alive with magic and wonder, as Benefit Auctions 360 gathers in support of Our House of Portland during their 2011 auction and event Midnight at the Oasis!

Our House has been part of the Portland community since 1988 – providing healthcare, housing, and other vital services to low-income people living with HIV/AIDS. Day in and day out, Our House of Portland is guided by compassion, inspiring people with HIV/AIDS to live well.

Event Chairs Gary Maffei and Marc Lintner are back again for another fantastic year, showcasing not only their phenomenal and heartfelt support for Our House, but also their creative eye and comic flair!  For one spectacular night, the Portland Art Museum will be transformed into an Arabian Oasis, complete with libations, live music, and of course a Live Auction, featuring Benefit Auctions 360’s auctioneer Johnna Wells.

This year’s auction is made complete with seventeen supremely sensational Live Auction packages! Here’s a snap shot of a few of the packages that are up for auction:

  • A Five-Star Cruise through the Tahitian Islands!
  • An 8 day stay at Village Paradiso on Bali’s tranquil eastern coast! An idyllic Eat Pray Love– esque retreat for up to 8 people!
  • A French Provincial Escape to the Chateauneuf du Pape! Located in Provence, France, this one week getaway will be an epic vacation for four people!
  • A six night South African Safari for two very lucky bidders! Complete with deluxe accommodations, three delicious African meals prepared daily, and viewing expeditions in an open-air rover through the Zulu Nyala reserve!

This list is just a snap-shot of the incredible packages that are up for grabs during Our House of Portland’s 2011 Benefit Auction! Visit Our House of Portland’s website for a complete list of Live Auction Packages – http://www.ourhouseofportland.org

If you’re interested in attending Midnight At The Oasis, or would like to place an absentee bid on any of their phenomenal Live Auction packages, contact James Lindquist, Development Manager at Our House, who is available at 503.595.6121 or by email at jlindquist@ourhouseofportland.org.


Johnna Wells of Benefit Auctions 360

In this video, Benefit Auctions 360’s principal fundraising auctioneer Johnna Wells, conducts the 2010 Our House of Portland auction, the 2010 Dove Lewis’ Boutique’s Unleashed auction, and the Amy Roloff Charity Foundation auction which was featured on an episode of TLC’s Little People, Big World. Thanks to Magaurn Video Media for providing live video coverage at both the Our House of Portland auction and Dove Lewis’ Boutique’s Unleashed!