Students to host “Fund-A-Raven” for Scholarship Ball

By Molly Cromer, The Circuit

This year, the 47th annual Scholarship Ball is bringing something new to the table.  The Fund-A-Raven auction will be hosted by two current Benedictine students.

For about 10 years, students have been coming to Benedictine’s annual Scholarship Ball as volunteer workers, not only to help run the event, but to connect with donors, alumni and friends of the college.  Students are usually given jobs such as running coat check, greeting guests and collecting bid cards from the Fund-A-Raven auction.

During Fund-A-Raven, donors bid anywhere between $100 and $20,000 for scholarships and it is the most prestigious fundraising event of the night and of the year.  Last year, Fund-A-Raven raised nearly a record-breaking $900,000—and this year, the roles of auctioneers will be played by Benedictine seniors Landon Downing and Lucy Defilippis.

In past years, professionals are usually the ones hosting Fund-A-Raven–auctioneers, news anchor John Holt from Fox 4, President Minnis and Sarah Swafford have all taken the stage.  It was Sue Durkin, special events coordinator, who had the idea to give the job to students this year.

She said that guests have been so impressed by the student volunteers that they have been willing to donate more money based on their encounters with them at the ball.  She is hoping for a similar—and possibly better—outcome this year with students taking the stage.

“Guests are always blown away by the students,” Durkin said.  “The more students have been involved at the ball, the more successful the fundraising.”

After sending them an email invitation requesting a meeting, Defilippis and Downing were unsure of what to expect.  When Durkin explained that she’d like them to host Fund-A-Raven, the students said they looked at each other in disbelief.

“We were shocked at such an opportunity,” Defilippis said.  “But we were ROC leaders, so we work really well together on stage and have experience emceeing for large crowds.”

The event will be held Feb. 24th at the Overland Park Convention Center.  The two are preparing for the by meeting with Durkin in the President’s Office once a week to rehearse their script, and they look forward to furthering the involvement of students at the Scholarship Ball in coming years.