Ice Ball 2019: An Enchanted Evening. A Life-Changing Impact.

It was a sparkling evening of glamorous outfits, gorgeous jewelry, and generous hearts as a crowd of more than 800 guests gathered for the 15th annual Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Texas Ice Ball Gala at the Fairmont Austin hotel. Amidst all this sparkle and elegance, none shone brighter than Little Sister Brianna, who shared her emotional story of overcoming peer abuse with the help of her Big Sister Ashley. Her story embodied the purpose of the entire evening and clearly showed the difference that mentoring makes.

Held on Saturday, August 24, the special event was a sold-out affair that raised funds to create more life-changing friendships between at-risk youth and caring adult mentors.

First and foremost – it was a GREAT EVENT and yet another very successful milestone for the agency!  We had a ballroom full of passionate guests who were very engaged, generous and totally connected to BBBS’ mission of helping children succeed,” said BBBS CEO Brent Fields. “Thanks to the generosity of our donors we raised enough funds this year to support over 600 matches!  That means this event has generated over $5 MILLION in its fifteen years of existence.”

The event began with pre-dinner activities and attractions including a signature ice sculpture, photo booths, hundreds of silent auction items, a Big Board mini live auction, and two different Kendra Scott games featuring mystery gifts of gorgeous Kendra Scott jewelry. Silent auction items included sports memorabilia, platinum SXSW passes, trips, and artwork. Also, part of the fun, was a raffle for a special Tito’s party bus trip.

“The crowd really enjoyed some of our new event features such as mobile bidding for the silent auction,” said Lauren Portley, Vice President of Development at BBBS. “It was the most successful silent auction ever. Plus, guests really enjoyed our new BIG After after-party, and the awesome entertainment from PDA. At the end of the night, though, it was all about helping more kids in our community receive the mentoring services they need and deserve.”

The band PDA kicked off the main portion of the evening as they led guests into the ballroom for a seated dinner and a live auction. Emcee Quita Culpepper, KVUE anchor, began the program, and auctioneer Heath Hale inspired the crowd to bid top dollar on many exciting auction packages.

Among the live auction packages for 2019 were a private dining experience on Lake Austin for 10 with a meal provided by Food & Wine’s “Best New Chef,” Grae Nonas; a special trip to Havana, Cuba; a New York package featuring Broadway tickets, baseball tickets and fine dining experiences; a special stay in a palazzo in Tuscany; a Rocky Mountain get-away; a beachside stay in Costa Rica; and a “bucket list” trip to a luxury chateau in Champagne, France.

A special addition to the live auction came courtesy of new Austin Fire Department Chief, Joel Baker. Attired in his dress uniform, Chief Baker offered guests the opportunity to bid on a Fire Department ride along in support of BBBS.  The package included a ride along for four; ‘Firefighters of the Day’ certificates for participants, including kids; an opportunity to wear the firefighters’ gear for a photo; and a special dinner for four at a fire station. Added to this prize was a special ride along with Austin Police Chief Brian Manley as well.

The highlight of the evening was the presentation of BBBS’ match story featuring Little Sister Brianna and Big Sister Ashley. Brianna shared her difficult story of experiencing bullying and peer abuse. With the help of her Big Sister, she managed to overcome these challenges and find joy and increased self- confidence. It is a story that exemplifies the impact BBBS’ mentoring has on young people, their families and our volunteers.

At the end of the evening, BBBS’ 2019 Ice Ball gala Chairs, Lauren Petrowski and Justin Poses, were recognized for their important roles in creating and hosting such an exceptional event. The celebration continued into the early morning hours as hundreds of guests enjoyed music, dancing, games, prizes, an open bar, and networking at The BIG After, Ice Ball’s new official after-party.

It was an enchanted evening, one whose impacts will be felt for years, and generations, to come.


See our 2019 event photos here:

See our Ice Ball match story video here


Special thanks to our top sponsors:

Kendra Scott; BB&T Bank; Minton, Bassett, Flores & Carsey; RSM; US Micro Products; Affinipay/Amy & John Porter; BMC Software, Inc.; Dr. Achal & Rajal Dhruva; H-E-B Tournament of Champions; Pamela & Will Hurley; Jill & J.R. Kraft; Mobile Tech RX; Moody Bank; Pape-Dawson Engineers; Pinnergy; RetailMeNot; ScaleFactor; St. David’s Foundation; Candy & Rhett Stone; Strangeworks; Urbanspace; Wells Fargo; and Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati Foundation.

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