Ice Ball 2020 – A Resounding Success!
It was a stunning evening! Big Brothers Big Sisters’ Ice Ball 2020: A BIG Night In exceeded all expectations, raising more than $700,000 to provide life-changing mentoring services for kids in our community.
The 16th annual event, held online Saturday, August 22, also had the largest audience ever assembled, with viewers and participants tuning in from coast to coast. For the first time, Ice Ball was presented as a live-streamed event delivered directly to viewers’ homes. While the format of this year’s ‘virtual’ gala was different, the magic of the event, and the opportunity to make a life-changing difference, were clearly evident.
“Ice Ball 2020 was a win-win-win for all involved! We had dedicated, supportive guests across the country and in Austin who were engaged, generous and totally connected to BBBS’ mission of helping children succeed,” said BBBS CEO Brent Fields. “During the ‘Fund A Friendship’ portion of the evening, we had our biggest response ever – with more than 250 donors contributing enough funds to support over 250 mentoring matches during that portion of the program alone!”
“2020 has certainly been a challenge for everyone,” Fields added, “but with such amazing community support, BBBS will be able to continue to help the most vulnerable children in our community during these difficult times.”
One of the special, and most highly anticipated, Ice Ball moments is the presentation of BBBS’ featured match story, and this year was no exception. Viewers got to meet Little Brother Tito and his Big Brother Rob. Tito described Rob’s impact on his life as a positive role model, and a significant support, when he experienced a serious medical crisis. Over time, Tito has come to see Rob as a part of his family. Their relationship also fostered Tito’s desire to become a Big Brother himself, exemplifying the multi-generational impact BBBS’ mentoring program makes.
Though the format of this year’s gala changed due to COVID, the virtual event still generated plenty of excitement. There were shout-out messages from community leaders such as Dr. Colette Pierce Burnette, President and CEO of Huston-Tillotson University, and Rachel and Colt McCoy, as well as surprise guests Cory Morrow and Bobby Bones, among others. A mixologist also demonstrated how to make the evening’s signature drink during the online pre-event reception.
Many participants held their own small house parties to watch the live-streamed event. However, whether at a private party or at home with family or friends, all were invited to register, watch, and participate in this year’s free event.
An online auction featured fine dining experiences, jewelry, private boat tours, and unique “staycations” at special venues, and auctioneer Heath Hale and the Cowboy Auctioneer team inspired viewers to bid on a number of exceptional live auction packages including a special trip to Breckenridge, Colorado; a New York package featuring Broadway and NFL tickets; and a special “Best of Texas” package including a 5-night stay at a Texas ranch, 10 pairs of Tecovas boots, Cassandra Collection earrings, and a special dinner prepared by Chef Joel Pena.
At the end of the evening, BBBS presented longtime supporters and advocates Carly and Clayton Christopher with the agency’s Ice VII Award. Over the years, Carly and Clayton Christopher have been tireless advocates for BBBS’ mission and they have helped to generate the amazing excitement for Ice Ball that exists today. It was a privilege to be able to recognize their contributions.
Acknowledging the unprecedented events surrounding this year’s gala, participants were encouraged to ‘Be the change they wish to see in the world’ by making a life-changing difference for children in our community, many of whom are among the hardest hit by the COVID crisis. Those in attendance rose to meet this challenge, making an impact that will last for years, and generations, to come.
“I thought Ice Ball went very well,” said Lauren Portley, BBBS VP of Development. “We are so grateful to those who joined us for our very first virtual gala and raised more than $100,000 over our goal – WOW! The Ice Ball Host Committee and staff were instrumental in making this event a wonderful success in these trying times. A big thank you to Leslie and Troy Marcus, our Ice Ball Host Committee Chairs. And, thank you to our community, who has supported, and continues to support, us. Because at the end of the day we are still serving kids, and that’s what this night is all about.”
See the event broadcast HERE
See Tito and Rob’s match story HERE
Special thanks to our top sponsors:
Carly & Clayton Christopher; Altrua Healthshare; Heritage Title; Kendra Scott; Amy & Clement Marcus; Leslie & Troy Marcus; RSM; and US Micro Products.
Thanks as well to Heath Hale and the Cowboy Auctioneers