The auctions being held during this year’s JDRF Hope Galas, on November 4th at the National Building Museum, and November 18th at the Waterfront Marriot in Baltimore will feature items ranging from one-of-a-kind art and theater packages to exclusive travel experiences—including trips to Morocco and Kiawah Island, as well as attending the 2018 Grammys. While the auctions give both attendees and non-attendees the opportunity to win something that they truly appreciate, winning comes with the added peace of mind knowing that the proceeds go towards funding life-changing type 1 diabetes (T1D) research.
Each gala’s auctions are arranged into three tiers: Live, Silent, and an in-between category called Super Silent used for the DC gala and Almost Live used for the Baltimore gala. Most importantly, people who are not able to attend the galas will still have the opportunity to place bids on the Super Silent, Almost Live, and Silent items through a mobile bidding app called BidPal. A day before the respective galas, attendees and non-attendees will receive a text from JDRF with a link to BidPal and instructions on bidding; the bidding will continue through the gala. If you would like to receive this text, please email your cellphone number to Development Coordinator Richard Martin at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Each year, gala committee members spend months procuring hundreds of items with the goal of featuring a range of values to appeal to different budgets, maximizing fundraising potential. Allison Weir’s first job out of undergrad was a special events coordinator for JDRF’s Greater Connecticut and Western Massachusetts Chapter, where she ran the Connecticut galas. In a twist of fate, her husband was diagnosed with T1D years later and they became involved with JDRF’s Greater Chesapeake and Potomac Chapter, where Allison has been a Baltimore gala committee member since 2013.
Allison described the Live items that are generating a lot of interest in Baltimore. “We have a German shepherd puppy, a one-week stay at Hilton Head, a hunting trip on the Eastern Shore, and opening weekend tickets to go see “Frozen on Broadway,” she said. She noted that there is very high energy during the Live auction, adding, “ it’s during the dinner program, so everyone is seated in the room with people raising their paddles, and there’s just a ton of energy.”
“My husband and I host a party every year where we ask everybody to bring a bottle of alcohol or wine. Part of the committee’s job is to package things together to make it attractive,” said Allison, explaining how the committee prepares some of the silent auction items. In addition to the wine and spirits baskets, the silent auction features sporting events, fine dining, trips, spas, and much more.
Gala committee volunteer Denise Neary described the procurement strategy for DC’s auction, saying, “We try to get things that most people wouldn’t have an opportunity to get. For example, there’s an auction item where you go see ‘Meet the Press.’ There’s also a trip to the Masters, and an all expenses covered box at Nationals Park.” She explained that Super Silent items “tend to be right on the cusp of becoming a Live item and are usually big budget items.”
Notably, Denise recalled why she and her husband Chris became involved with JDRF: “My daughter was diagnosed with T1D at 15 and instantly we heard from JDRF, we received the Bag of Hope, and we connected with Delia Whitfield (Greater Chesapeake and Potomac Chapter’s associate director) because our daughter had an international trip planned we didn’t want to undo, but we were terrified to do. Delia gave us phenomenal help at just the moment we needed it and we’ve been loyal to JDRF ever since.”
In addition to the adorable puppies that will be featured at both galas, another popular item is the artwork created by children with T1D. In discussing the artwork at the Baltimore gala, Allison said, “This year some of the kids in our community living with T1D put together a beautiful mosaic mirror.”
The auctions at this year’s galas are sure to have something for everyone, due to the hard work of the many dedicated committee members.