At the 14th Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Texas Ice Ball on August 25, 2018, expect to be entertained. Before dinner is served, you can enjoy a cocktail, bid on silent auction items, shop a Kendra Scott pop-up shop with an exclusive premiere of her new fall line, snap a photo in the photo booth, and marvel at an ice sculpture. Once inside, guests will be treated to a seated dinner and a live auction led by Heath Hale and his team, then you’ll learn about the impact of mentoring and donate to fund a friendship, followed by a raffle.
It’s a glamorous, jam-packed evening with 800 expected guests, but it’s grown significantly from the 2010 event I attended, where room temperature hors d-oeurves were set on tables in the middle of a bright room. This year’s event definitely owes its origins to the group of volunteers who launched and executed Ice Ball for nine years, says Brenda Lindforss, vice president of marketing and communications for BBBSCTX. “It started out small,” she said, “and it’s just continued to grow.”
Since Ice Ball has outgrown almost every ballroom in town, it will be one of the first fundraising galas to put Austin’s newest “jewel” hotel – The Fairmont – to the test. So far, the Fairmont’s decor has had mixed reviews, but with the Ice Ball, Austin’s giving community will get to sample the service, food, and ambiance it has to offer. Those who are curious about the new venue will want to make sure to attend.
As in previous years, the event chairs tend to have been long-time “bigs” themselves. This year, Ashley and Justin Yarborough lend their names and their fundraising and team-building muscle. Justin is the president of Big Bend Brewing Co. and serves as a captain in the United States Marine Corps Reserve. He is also a former Big Brother who truly understands BBBS’ mission. Prior to joining Big Bend Brewing Co., Justin was a director at Kayne Anderson Capital, a leading manager of investment strategies specializing in oil and gas, real estate, credit, and growth private equity. Ashley is a former Miss Texas winner and a graduate of Texas Christian University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Broadcast Journalism. She has served as an ambassador for the state of Texas and traveled to numerous communities speaking on issues involving culture, politics, and community.
Look for a heart-warming mission moment at the Ice Ball. Just $1,250 will fund a single big-and-little relationship for a year, and few will be able to resist lending a hand. According to Lindfors, as many as 400 kids are on a waiting list to be put into a mentor relationship. The money goes toward professional staff who support the mentor relationship by making the match, training the volunteers, troubleshooting when there are family problems, and help the relationship be as positive as possible. “It’s really a matter of funding,” said Lindfors. “Though we do have a need for more male volunteers as well as volunteers who are African-American or Hispanic. Ninety percent of the kids waiting are boys.”
Yes, the Ice Ball continues to raise more every year, but the need for more funding continues to grow as well. On August 25, BBBSCTX hops to beat last year’s result of $670,000. And tickets are still available. Learn more about Ice Ball 2018 here.