BA360 LIVE! On site with Arts Central!

September 29, 2013

We’re here tonight at the Bend Golf & Country Club, raising our paddles for the work of Arts Central!image  Executive Director, Cate O’Hagan and Auctioneer, Johnna Wells, are gearing the crowd up for a creatively inspired fundraising auction to support the transformative power of arts education!

It has been proven that students with an eduction rich in the arts have higher GPA’s and standardized test scores, lower drop-out rates, and a stronger sense of community!

Tonight’s Black & White Gala supports Arts Central in their efforts to inspire creativity through arts education to the communities of Deschutes, Jefferson, and Crook counties!


I Have a Dream Foundation spells SUCCESS at Alder Elementary!

September 27, 2013

Upon stepping foot into Portland’s Alder Elementary School, bright-eyed school children respectfully and quietly walk down the halls in single file line, guided by their teacher, whom is leading them towards the cafeteria. A large poster just inside the front door proclaims, “Alder is where college begins.”

Our team at Benefit Auctions 360 had the opportunity to take a tour of Alder Elementary last week, and within a few minutes inside Alder Elementary, it was clear that Alder teachers and staff aren’t just leading students down the hall towards lunch, or recess, they were leading children towards a strong and sustainable future – one marked with a cap and gown, and effective steps to take them college-bound!IHAD tree photo And this is thanks to the work of the I Have a Dream Foundation of Oregon!

Creating an environment that fosters a college-bound culture, the I Have a Dream Foundation-Oregon in partnership with Alder Elementary infuses an inspiring notion of academic drive and infinite possibilities throughout the entire school. Classrooms have signs noting the year the children will graduate from college – the kindergarten class, for example, proclaims in big, bright, bold letters,  “Class of 2030!”

Alder is a high-poverty school in which more than two-thirds of its nearly 600 students speak English as a second language, more than 30 languages overall being  spoke throughout the school, and more than 90 percent receive subsidized meals. Fewer than 15 percent currently go on to graduate from high school, let alone college, however the I Have a Dream Foundation-Oregon is working diligently with the school, parents, and community, to ensure that graduation statistics begin to climb, and that each child firmly believes in their potential to move towards a future which includes college on the horizon!  Here at Benefit Auctions 360, we are ecstatic to be partnering with the I Have a Dream Foundation – Oregon on their 5th annual Dream Big fundraising auction and event to be held on Saturday, November 9, 2013 at the Portland Art Museum!  If you would like to attend or support this evening of cocktails, hand-picked Silent Auction packages, dinner, and one of a kind Live Auction packages, click HERE to purchase tickets, and join this motivating movement to encourage children within our community to Dream Big!



Put a bid on it: How a Portland, OR auctioneer is keeping the city’s nonprofits afloat


posted by on August 20, 2013
Filed under: Intentions

Johnna Wells BGF photo

Johnna at the 3rd Annual Shake It Til We Make It fundraising auction and event for The Brian Grant Foundation, held last year at the iconic Rose Garden Arena. (Photo credit:

Every weekend for nine months out of the year, auctioneer Johnna Wells stands up in the center of a room filled with hundreds of people, sometimes thousands, and tries to raise the most money possible for that night’s nonprofit.

Her auction chant is automatic at this point; the mental juggling is all about reading the body language of the bidders at key tables, making sure she gets the minimum amount for the donated goods, and sustaining the energy of the crowd.

It’s become second nature for Johnna, who is admittedly shy otherwise.

“I’m more uncomfortable in a room of ten people than a thousand,” she says. “But once I get up there and get a microphone in my hand, it’s almost like my superhero cloak. I feel at home, and less exposed in that way.”

From artist to auctioneer

Johnna’s been around the rapid-fire auction environment her whole life. Her mom and dad owned and operated auction houses in Coeur D’Alene and Post Falls, Idaho, which specialized in antiques and collectibles.

As kids, every day after school, she and her brother would help their parents get read for the weekly Friday night auction, and every Friday night, they would listen to the patter of their dad’s bid call, rolling out their sleeping bags in the clerking room while buyers checked out with their treasured wares.

“It seems nerdy, but it’s an interesting and cool community of little vignettes of stories and lives,” she says.

But Johnna outgrew the family business as she got older. After studying art at the University of Idaho, she moved to Portland and began a series of art-related jobs ranging from window dressing to jewelry design. During this time, she started to question whether or not she could continue to pay the bills as an artist—and if it was fulfilling her desire to do good in the world.

Then her dog died back home. On a whim, she quit her jewelry store job, got on a plane, and chose a seat that happened to put her next to two old-timers who’d known her grandparents and told her tales of days long ago.

“Sometimes it feels like once an action is put in motion, you know you’re on the right track when the rest of those pieces start to fall into place and remind you that you made the right decision,” she says.

She ended up staying in Idaho for the summer. Coincidentally, her father’s health took a bad turn and she further learned the ins and outs of the auction method when her parents opted to leave the family farm and move into a condo. It was during that summer that she decided to go to auction school and, afterward, apprentice at a local fundraising auction company back in Portland before starting her own business.

Portland’s powerhouse fundraiser

Now Johnna is one of the seven percent of women auctioneers around the world, and a 2005 International Auctioneer Champion.

Her company, Benefit Auctions 360, works with a variety of Portland nonprofits including Doernbecher Children’s Hospital, Cascade AIDS Project, and the homeless youth organization p:ear.

The fundraising auctions, which Johnna likens to “original crowdfunding,” are anything but small affairs. Throughout the course of the year, her team works with each nonprofit to strategically plan and promote each auction and event. Venues range from art museums to the Veterans Memorial Coliseum; performers have included local and famous musicians alike, from Julianne Johnson to KISS; and donated goods run the gamut from an original Gus Van Sant photograph to being a roadie for the band Rush.

This spring alone, Benefit Auctions 360 has raised a total of $14 million—and they’ve made their own donation to every organization they’ve worked with. For many of city’s nonprofits, the money they raise in one night is what keeps their doors open throughout the year.

“Years ago, I had my very first auction with p:ear. Seconds before I took the stage, Executive Director Beth Burns came over to me. She put her hand on shoulder, squeezed it firmly, and said, ‘We’ve barely got any money in the bank. So don’t mess this up,’ ” Johnna says. “I was shocked, but it really set the tone early on for how important this work is.”

Johnna is successful any way you look at it, but she doesn’t let it get to her head. In fact, she’s anything but comfortable.

“There’s always the potential to make whatever you’re doing bigger and better. And there’s also the potential for it to unravel at the seams. It all depends on you,” Johnna says. “I’m scared every day that I’m not doing the right thing, that I’m not doing my best. I think that’s a good thing. It keeps you on your toes and makes you work that much harder.”

Check out the Benefit Auctions 360 blog for tips on fundraising, auction planning, and more.

Follow them on Pinterest for auction and event ideas.

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To visit this original feature on Idealist’s Blog, click HERE

The 5th Annual Starry Night Gala – benefiting the Amy Roloff Charity Foundation!

September 14, 2013

We’re just hours away from launching into the 5th Annual Starry Night Gala  – a benefit for the Amy Roloff Charity Foundation!




Amy Roloff, founder of Amy Roloff Charity Foundation

Amy Roloff—business professional, wife, mother   and leading lady of the hit reality television series, “Little People, Big World” on TLC,  is currently filming her 9th season, making her show the longest running family reality TV show in history, with over 275 episodes, an average of 1 million viewers per week. She’s proud to say that her personal family story and mission to promote diversity, has truly had an impact on the way the world understands dwarfism, and the differences that surround us from person to person.  Through her celebrity, Amy wanted to give back, and in 2009, she formed the Amy Roloff Charity Foundation (ARCF) to help non-profit organizations raise funds for children and youth who face social, emotional, mental and physical challenges.

Held this year at the sleek and urban, Left Bank Annex, in Portland, Oregon, guests will soon be arriving in their Mad Men inspired attire for an evening of 60s era sizzle, and the red carpet will be rolled out for treasured patrons to officially kick off this star studded gala!  Hosting the red carpet once again, will be Jeremiah Stroup, a handsome and incredibly talented host, whom will surely inspire each and every guest to open up about their reasons for coming out and supporting tonight’s fundraising auction and event for the Amy Roloff Charity Foundation!

Here’s a clip from last year’s Starry Night, featuring auctioneer, Johnna Wells, and E! Entertainment and Today Show correspondent, Jason Kennedy!