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Kansas City Chimed In on 2008's Charity Fundraisers
Some were hot - some were not.

Red Ball 2008
Kansas City Charity Fundraiser for The American Red Cross

Overall Rating - 4.2 Stars

YouTube Video of Red Ball 2008

2008 started out strong for Kansas City charity fundraisers with The American Red Cross' First Annual Red Ball in February.  The American Red Cross literally rolled out the red carpet for it's guests at Kansas City's newest and most exciting concert venue - The Sprint Center.  The windows of the Sprint Center were glowing with the familiar Red Cross logos - a very nice touch!  Guests were treated to an open bar service cocktail hour when they arrived on the mezzanine level.  Drinks flowed and conversation percolated during the cocktail hour as guests peeked downstairs at the elaborate set up.  The stage was set for two powerhouse musical acts The Temptations and The KC All Stars.

Dinner followed the cocktail hour on the main floor of the Sprint Center.  Many big names graced the party including the Nichols family and the Kauffman family.

The Temptations lit up the stage with all of the familiar Motown classics that made them legendary.  The dance floor quickly filled up and the party was in full swing.  After The Temptations played Kansas City's local favorite The KC All Stars took the stage.  The dance floor stayed packed for the All Star's set and they even got all of the girls up on stage to sing along to Journey's "Don't Stop Believing" - a very classy way to end the evening.  We gave this event 4.2 Stars.

Things to Improve:  Other charity events seem to raise more money than The Red Ball.  For instance Children's Mercy raised over $800,000 at their 2008 auction, and their auction was nowhere near as entertaining or glamorous.  Perhaps this is because the Red Ball is a brand new event.

Fur Ball 2008
Kansas City Charity Fundraiser for Wayside Waifs

Overall Rating - 4.1 Stars

Wayside Waifs once again came up with a snappy theme to 2008's Fur Ball with "Yappy Days".

We love the Overland Park Convention Center for events.  They have one of the most spacious and scenic cocktail foyers in the Midwest.  Floor to ceiling windows and exquisite artwork speckled around the foyer gives the guests the feeling that something magical may indeed happen that very evening.

In the past the Fur Ball had a history for being to long and drawn out - typically boring it's guests to sleep with a long dinner and a long auction segment.  This year the Wayside Waifs staff was very focused on setting a more efficient timeline for the evening's events.  The Fur Ball, like many large charity events make it a point to "reward" their patrons after the long auction process with live entertainment and dancing.  By speeding up the dinner and the auction this year many more guests stayed and enjoyed the band Liverpool which was donated in part by Adam Blue Productions.

Things to Improve:  Keep up an efficient pace for the night's activities.

The Blue Jean Ball
Kansas City Charity Fundraiser for The March of Dimes

Overall Rating - 3.8 Stars

March of Dimes supporters “dressed up” in denim October 11 for the Third Annual Blue Jean Ball. More than 400 attended this male-inspired, creative black-tie gala with beer, steak and sports to celebrate dads and raise funds for the March of Dimes.

Guests enjoyed interactive sports, bid on sports memorabilia and exciting live auction items and were entertained by the dueling piano show Roll Over Beethoven. Kansas City Royals catcher John Buck and his wife, Brooke, were Ambassadors for the event. The couple, who gave birth to premature twins in May 2008, also teamed with Royals Charities for a $10,000 donation.

Cory “Cowboy” Anderson of 610 Sports Radio and Scott Parks of News Radio 980 KMBZ served as Masters of Ceremony. After dinner, guests pledged more than $34,000 in the live auction and March of Dimes Fund the Mission.  Among the live auction experiences was a day with Royals John Buck, David DeJesus and Alex Gordon.

Local media and corporate sponsors donated more than $90,000 in advertising, products and services for the event. The Blue Jean Ball raised more than $130,000 for the March of Dimes mission to improve the health of babies by preventing birth defects, premature birth and infant mortality.

Things to Improve:  Maybe don't put the football game on the big screen.

Masquerade 2008
First Hand Foundation - Cerner

Overall Rating - 3.2 Stars

Cerner's First Hand Foundation's Masquerade 2008 was one of the first events to be held at the newly renovated Midland Theater in Kansas City.

The entryway to the Midland is a historical masterpiece complete with a sprawling stairway for excellent photo ops.  Cerner is well known for it's beautiful people - as they employ a number of the Kansas City Chiefs Cheerleaders and other supermodel types, and the girls were up front and center at the entrance.  Donned in long evening gowns and wearing masquerade masks, the girls brought back memories of the Tom Cruise movie Eyes Wide Shut.

After a silent auction in the foyer the guests were invited into the main theater where they were served food and treated to the music of a nice jazz ensemble.  After dinner the main act, Liverpool, took the stage and entertained the crowd with hits from The Fab Four.  Although some dancing took place, this year's event didn't get as wild as previous years.

Things to Improve:  Bring the night to a full boil - First Hand Foundation supporters are used to a lot of dancing in the last stages of the night.

5th Annual Premier
Higher M-Pact and The American Jazz Museum

Overall Rating - 3 Stars

For those of you who don't know...Higher M-Pact engages in the lives of high-risk youth, and the communities in which they live, by providing positive guidance and creating mentoring relationships. Higher M-Pact programs are aimed at changing the head, heart and habits of Kansas City high-risk youth to ignite a spark and invoke the leadership skills within them.

This year Higher M-Pact held their 5th Annual Premiere charity fundraiser at The American Jazz Museum.  The Museum is fairly basic and does not offer much in the way of aesthetics, but the cheerful mood of the room was created by the enthusiasm of the guests.

A buffet style dinner was followed up by a movie presentation.  The movie was directed by a former recipient of Higher M-Pact aid and was well received by all.

The entertainment for the evening was provided by Roll Over Beethoven, a Kansas City dueling piano group.  Guests made requests and even sang along to songs such as "Baby Got Back" and everyone really got into it.

Things to Improve:  Possibly cut down on the speech time.

Snow Ball 2008
Kansas City Charity Fundraiser for Catholic Charities

Overall Rating - 2.8 Stars

The 34th Annual Snow Ball was held on January 12, 2008 at the Crown Center Exhibition Hall. Mike and Millie Brown were the Snow Ball presidents for this year's event.

The Snow Ball supports Catholic Charities in their efforts to provide compassionate care and support to more than 85,000 children and families of all faiths in our community.  The evening was sponsored by the St. Martin of Tours League, and the theme for 2008's event was Celebration with Friends.

Dinner was excellent and after dinner there was entertainment from Kansas City Country Club favorite The Boulevard Band and The Karen Davis Project.
 
Even in the face of a challenging philanthropy environment, the event generated more than one million dollars to meet the growing needs of the agency's clients.
 
Things to Improve:  It might be nice if this event were geared slightly more towards the 30 - 40 somethings instead of the 50+ at the end of the night.

Jazzoo 2008
Kansas City Charity Fundraiser for The Kansas City Zoo

Overall Rating - 2.4 Stars

The first weekend in June brings us the outrageous party in the jungle - Jazzoo.  Thousands of charitable patrons take over The Kansas City Zoo for a night of fun costumes, great food and entertainment.  Jazzoo had a good turn out this year as guests lined the red carpet anxiously awaiting the opening.  Newspaper photographers and TV cameras were everywhere taking pictures and conducting interviews with Jazzoo patrons.  The entrance to the Jazzoo fundraiser is one of the best around - the red carpet takes you through the gates of The Kansas City Zoo and photographers are snapping photos right and left.  In 2008, it was quite hot and sticky outside so it was good that they had beverage carts placed immediately inside the gates.

After the grand entrance, guests were treated with an amazing assortment of cuisine from every big name restaurant in Kansas City.  Mini steak sandwiches, lamb chops and potatoes, and of course some great Kansas City BBQ.  The food was by far the best part of Jazzoo 2008.

The entertainment was a little off for Jazzoo 2008.  There were three stages total - on the main stage was Chubby Carrier who plays Zydeco music that is fairly hard to tell one song from the next, and to make matters worse he was on break more than he was on stage.  There was NO dancing by the main stage this year.  Another big disappointment was the so called "dueling pianos" donated by Howl at the Moon.  It was basically two guys in jean shorts and T-shirts playing little electric keyboards - yikes.  Lastly there was a country band (that's right, a country band at Jazzoo) on the 3rd stage.  If it weren't for people who had to wait for the train, this area would have been completely empty.

Things to Improve:  Better entertainment.

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