What’s New at Ice Ball 2018?
temperatures hover around 100 degrees in Austin these days, it’s a perfect time
to think about Big Brothers Big Sisters’ frostiest signature
event – the upcoming Ice Ball Gala. Complete with an amazing ice sculpture, the
Ice Ball is a night of elegance, inspiration and revelry that makes a lifetime
of difference for children in our community. It may be in the hottest month of
the year, but this year’s event will be the coolest ticket in town offering
many new elements and surprises, from a new location to the newly launched fall
line of Kendra Scott jewelry.
first new element is the Fairmont Austin Hotel – a new location for this year’s
gala,” said Lauren Portley, Vice President of Development at BBBS. “The
Fairmont is a 37-story, luxury hotel in downtown Austin. We have the entire
fifth floor and ballroom for the event.”
downtown location offers a central gathering spot, as BBBS supporters come from
all across the Central Texas area. Plus, the new location offers more room.
This is critical as the event grew by 100 participants last year and is on tap
to grow even more this year. “The Fairmont is a location that can grow with us.
This year the hotel is also offering a limited room deal for participants who
want to turn the gala into a ‘staycation’ to enjoy the event, the great hotel,
and the downtown area,” Lauren added.
event also has two new event chairs: Ashley and Justin Yarborough. 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.
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.
year’s Ice Ball Host Committee includes a generous mix of new and returning
members as well. The larger group is currently working on securing new and
exciting silent and live auction items. “We are working to put together special
experiences that you can’t just go out and buy,” said Lauren. “Our donors get
very excited about the gala. Often it’s because they purchased one of the
auction trips the previous year and had such a great time that they can’t wait
to see the new items.”
to move these auction items along is another newcomer, auctioneer Heath Hale
and his cowboys. This group has worked special events across the state
including the Andy Roddick Foundation Gala, Susan G. Komen for the Cure, and
the annual Mack, Jack and McConaughey fundraiser. “Each auction has its own
unique goals, challenges and personality. This wide variety of experiences
makes galas and fundraising auctions a specialty and a passion for me,” said
Heath, who was born into a family of auctioneers. “Through my experience, I
have learned what works… and what doesn’t.”
brings with him some experienced “ringmen.” They’re the cowboy bid spotters,
who he says are the best in the business. “They love auctions, always have a
great time, and people love to watch them in action,” said Heath.
cowboys will be rustling up plenty of excitement during the auction, but
attendees will also enjoy fun activities before they ever enter the main
ballroom, including another new addition to the evening… a Kendra Scott pop-up
store. This new feature will offer guests the opportunity to try on and shop
for select items from the 2018 fall line of Kendra Scott jewelry. As described
in People magazine, Kendra Scott’s jewelry is known for its beautiful gemstones
and timeless, affordable, chic styles that individuals and celebrities love.
Scott has donated jewelry mystery boxes for the past several Ice Ball events,”
said Lauren, “and those sold out within the first 30 minutes. I wanted to
expand that experience for this year’s Ice Ball and asked if they would provide
the pop-up store. They not only agreed to do that, they are also donating a
piece from the Kendra Scott Fine Jewelry Collection for our raffle.”
Scott’s impact extends beyond Ice Ball, however, as the organization is also
planning to sponsor a Sister to Sister event for BBBS matches where Bigs and
Littles can create their own jewelry pieces at a Kendra Scott store ‘color
bar.’ Afterwards, matches will get to meet some of Kendra Scott’s female
executives to hear their stories.
all about women empowering women. It is important for our kids to see how these
successful women have gotten to where they are. So often our kids see people in
cool jobs but have no idea what it takes to get there,” said Lauren. “Finding
ways to help our Littles understand what it takes to get certain jobs, helping
them expand their knowledge and experiences, these are opportunities we look
for when collaborating with companies. That’s why Kendra Scott is such an
exciting partner. They are not only supporting BBBS in terms of revenue, which
is wonderful, but they are also supporting our mission by providing learning
experiences for our kids.”
this type of direct impact that is a highlight of BBBS’ Ice Ball and one that
shines a light on the best new element of the 2018 gala – the BBBS mission
moment, an opportunity for everyone in the room to hear from a Big and a Little
about the impact mentoring has had on their lives.
mission moment is the most exciting new thing for me,” said Lauren. “I love
seeing the new match story we are featuring for the evening. We talk about what
we do, but for our guests to be able to meet a match, to hear the Little’s
story, and then to see people who are really touched and impacted by our work,
is powerful. It really is what the event is all about. This event exists to
help us create mentoring relationships that change children’s lives. The gala
brings people together who care about making a difference for children in our
community. We love being able to share the impact of our work during the
Brothers Big Sisters’ 2018 Ice Ball Gala takes place Saturday, August 25th at
6:00 pm at the Fairmont Austin Hotel, 101 Red River St., in downtown Austin.
With ice sculptures, live auctions, silent auctions, dinner and dancing, it’s a
fun event, with a life-changing purpose. Go to www.AustinIceBall.org for details.