2022 Ice Ball Recap

A crowd of over 750 people gathered to celebrate and support kids in our community at Big Brothers Big Sisters’ 2022 Ice Ball Gala. Held at the JW Marriott in downtown Austin on August 27, the event raised over $930,000 to provide more children with the mentors they need and deserve.

“What a beautiful evening,” said BBBS CEO, Dr. Leah Newkirk Meunier. “Ice Ball is one of the premier galas in the Austin community. Thanks to the amazing generosity of our donors, even more children will receive mentoring relationships that can change their lives for the better, forever.”

Sarah and Albert Swantner, the 2022 Ice Ball chairs, were also inspired by the night’s activities. “There was a special moment after the Ice Ball was over where Sarah and I were amazed at the evening that had just passed. We had experienced a room full of people who were there to provide a better future for kids across Central Texas,” said Albert. “Our volunteers, committee members, and BBBS staff worked tirelessly to make the evening memorable for our guests. The Ice Ball is one of the most meaningful events of the year, and this year’s event truly exceeded our expectations.”

Beneath beautiful chandeliers, the crowd enjoyed a range of cocktail hour activities before the main program began. The extensive silent auction provided attendees with a great opportunity to bid on unique Central Texas offerings. While bidding, participants also enjoyed meeting friends, listening to the live band, sipping on signature cocktails, and posing for photos in front of the event’s annual ice sculpture.

Guests also had the chance to win a pave diamond circle necklace from Eliza Page at the Buried Treasure booth, and local poets from the Typewriter Rodeo created unique poems for attendees upon request.

“We are so thrilled at the incredible generosity and support Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Texas received at the 18th Annual Ice Ball,” said Emily Franke, BBBS VP of Development. “It was wonderful to be together again, and to have the opportunity to meet new friends and to connect with longtime supporters of our mission.”

Guests moved into the ballroom for the main portion of the program as dinner was served. Emcee Quita Culpepper, an anchor with KVUE news, began the program with a special video welcome message from Big Brothers Big Sisters of America’s President and CEO, Artis Stevens.

Leah then welcomed the crowd and talked about BBBS’ achievements over the past year, as well as some of the agency’s current needs. She also recognized and thanked the event’s top sponsors, the Ice Ball Host Committee, and this year’s event chairs, Sarah and Albert Swantner.

After a rousing game of ‘Heads or Tails,’ auctioneer David Ackel began the live auction where he encouraged guests to bid top dollar on packages including a special tour of Sonoma wineries; a skiing adventure in Park City, Utah; a fishing expedition to Belize; and a special trip to the Amalfi coast in Italy.

Following the live auction, Laura and Kyndel Bennett were honored with this year’s Ice VII award, which is presented to those who have had the most significant impact, and influence, on Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Texas. As BBBS mentors, leaders, and benefactors for more than 25 years, the Bennetts’  passion and legacy has been about giving back to the community. We are grateful for their ongoing involvement and support.

The most inspiring, and heart-felt, portion of the event was the presentation of the Mission Moment, which featured Little Brother AJ’s, and Big Brother Justin’s, match story.

Just 2 years ago, AJ was reluctant to interact with others, and rarely smiled. When first matched, he was very quiet and shy.

After being matched with Justin, however, the magic of mentoring took over. Justin and AJ began playing soccer in the park, cooking together, and even formed their own personal book club, which improved AJ’s reading and academic skills. Since being matched, “he’s become a different child,” said AJ’s mother, Jana. “He has a lot of friends, his teachers adore him, and he’s doing well in school.”

And now, AJ sports a big smile. One that could be seen, and felt, throughout the entire ballroom.

Following this special presentation, and the Fund-A-Friendship portion of the night, it was time to reveal the evening’s results – and they did not disappoint! This year’s Ice Ball gala raised over $930,000!

This tremendous announcement set the stage for a celebration, which continued into the early morning hours as the gala after party got underway with music by the Love & Happiness Band.

It was truly a magical night. One that will impact children’s lives for years to come.

See event photos HERE

See photo booth photos HERE

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