Two board members to cherish
I met two fab board members at the Essex County Institute for Trustees last Saturday. Judy is the board chair and Al the chair-to-be of Opportunity Works, based in Newburyport, Massachusetts. Opportunity Works provides a multitude of services to individuals with disabilities and their families in the Merrimack Valley.
Based on our conversation, I could immediately tell that Judy and Al are big cheerleaders for their organization – what all of us hope for in our board members. They were pitching me on the good work of Opportunity Works from the moment I asked what organization they were with.
And the frosting on this board member cake was that they are both actively involved in making friends and raising money for Opportunity Works.
I was intrigued by their annual fundraising event, the Lend-A-Hand auction, not being an auction expert myself. They told me that the event, which has become a much anticipated tradition in their community, grossed $75,000 last year, its top year ever! Kudos to them for the increase. I know many an organization whose big events even with auctions don’t raise this much.
The auction, entering its 27th year, takes place on cable television. This is the second year it was streamed over the Internet. It was broadcast live in nine Greater Newburyport communities and for the first time in Haverhill.
They use the local middle school during school vacation week to stage the auction. Set up takes place during the week, the telecast and bidding is on Saturday from noon to 9 pm. and pickup is the next day, Sunday, all before school opens again on Monday.
As Judy, described it, “there is something for everyone” with 600 donated items ranging from dog grooming to decorating to the big ticket, an African Safari. You can see the list for yourself here.
Al told me that the community values the work Opportunity Works does so they are very supportive. Sponsors get to auction off the tables the night of the auction and businesses and other community groups send volunteers who answer the phones and take the bids. Both Judy and Al are extremely active in the auction.
I was impressed by the enthusiasm and hard work of these board members and wanted to share it with you.