February 3, 2014 – For Near & Far Aid’s Annual Spring Gala, nothing less than a bash to rival the biggest in Hollywood will do. And so it will be on February 28th when the annual event comes to Mitchells of Westport, for an event guaranteed to go a long way toward Near & Far Aid’s vision of targeting poverty and changing lives in Fairfield County. With a cast, crew and, most importantly, cause guaranteed to create a spectacular evening of giving, Near & Far Aid invites you to walk the red carpet and celebrate the Oscars with them at their biggest fundraiser of the year.
Co-chaired by Sarah Hale of Norwalk and Mary Thornton of Fairfield, the 2014 Gala promises all the festivities it has come to be known for, and so much more. While Oscar gowns are not required for guests, an amazing Red Carpet fashion show will showcase spring’s hottest designs. Delicious Oscar-inspired cuisine will be prepared by Festivities of Norwalk, signature cocktails will be flowing and the annual silent, live and rare wine auctions will be stocked with unique experiences, luxury holidays and one-of-a kind items. New this year, however, is BidPal, a technology that allows guests to bid on and closely monitor their favorite auction items from a handheld device for the duration of the auction. With BidPal, Gala ticketholders can also preview the auction catalogue on the Near & Far website and place bids on select items prior to the big event. On the 28th, bidders will be able to enjoy the festivities without concern, since BidPal alerts them right away if someone has outbid them on their favorite items.
Co-chair Sarah Hale was the driving force behind bringing BidPal to this year’s event. “BidPal is truly revolutionizing charitable fundraising. Guests will have the ability to contribute in any way that is comfortable for them. Any time, anywhere, from any point in Mitchells throughout the evening. The interface on the device is comparable to a smartphone so guests will have fun tracking their bids and won’t lose site of items on which they have their hearts set. This will be a game changer for Near & Far Aid and all our Gala guests!”
The live auction portion of the evening, always hugely popular and highlighted by truly special, often priceless items, will be presented by Masters of Ceremony Alisyn Camerota of Fox’s America’s News Headquarters and Dancing with the Stars Allstars champion Tony Dovolani. Live auction items have historically drawn very generous bids contributing to the evening’s great success, and this year will be no different. In addition to a vast array of silent auction items, Gala guests will have the opportunity to bid on a spectacular trip to London (including Wimbledon tickets and a Victoria Beckham dress) or an Italy excursion featuring a tour of the Brunello Cuccinelli Vineyards, to name two, in the much-anticipated live version. And there is one more reason to bid big this year.
“Near & Far Aid is very pleased to announce an anonymous donor has come forward to generously match the live auction and direct giving portion of the evening up to $150,000. We are inspired the by commitment of our donors and this gift in particular is a resounding endorsement of the effectiveness of Near & Far Aid’s mission to eliminate the causes and effects of poverty in Fairfield County. We are honored and humbled by their generosity, ” said Bitsy Higgins, President of Near & Far Aid.
The excitement of Gala doesn’t stop with its fabulous auction items and an innovative new way to bid on them, however – this year the party will also feature live music and dancing. A DJ, followed by The Jay Prince Band, will play from the first red carpet entrances until the credits roll, creating a more festive atmosphere than ever before. Co-chair Mary Thornton promises this new twist will give Gala an especially vibrant feel.
“We are excited about hosting Fairfield County’s own Oscar Party! We have lots of Hollywood surprises in store along with a fabulous menu from Festivities, and the Jay Prince band will ensure our guests can dance the night away. Our live, silent and wine auctions offer a unique variety of items and the Mitchells’ fashion show will rival anything you’ll see on the red carpet!”
Bob Mitchell, Co-CEO of Mitchells, shares Thornton’s enthusiasm for the upcoming celebration and the organization whose efforts it benefits.
“Our family is very proud of our long term partnership with Near& Far Aid and the Spring Gala. We share a similar vision of giving back to our neediest close to home through volunteerism and financial support. We salute the many volunteers who have worked with us and become our friends. We are confident this year will be better than ever, and watch out for next year with the 20th anniversary!”
Near & Far Aid’s 2014 Spring Gala sponsors include: Title Sponsor Mitchells of Westport; Premier Sponsor Basso Capital Management; Presenting Sponsors Bank of America, U.S. Trust, Colt & Mosle LLP, Compass Group Management & Diversified Holdings, Crystal & Company, Curtis, FactSet, House of Clement, Kelly Millington Travel, LLBH Private Wealth Management, Mallet-Prevost, and Mizzen Holdings LLC; Exclusive Magazine Sponsor Westport Magazine/Moffly Media; and Exclusive Auto Sponsor Porsche of Fairfield.
Near & Far Aid is an all-volunteer organization working to end poverty in Fairfield County. Since 2000, more than $13 million has been granted to approximately 100 local non-profits who meet Near & Far Aid’s mission. For more information or to purchase tickets to the 2014 Gala, please visit www.nearandfaraid.org/events or like us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/nearandfaraid.
Contact: [email protected]