Organizations Resources

Prospect Park is one of Brooklyn’s Treasures

Prospect Park
IMG: via Shutterstock
Prospect Park in Brooklyn, NY

Prospect Park, located in the heart of Brooklyn, NY, is a 585-acre sanctuary, the result of a collaboration between famed landscape architects Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux. The expansive park features a 60-acre lake, the Prospect Park Zoo, and Brooklyn’s only forest. It is home to many events and performing arts festivals, which brings the community of Brooklyn together to celebrate, as well as invites visitors to explore the beautiful urban oasis.

Prospect Park is a real treasure of Brooklyn, and is “safer, cleaner, more vibrant, and more popular today that it’s ever been,” thanks to the dedicated efforts of the Prospect Park Alliance, a group focused on maintaining the park’s breathtaking natural offerings. During the summer, Prospect Park comes alive for concerts, performances, parties, and events for locals, families, and visitors of all ages to delight in.

July marks the annual Summer Soiree at Prospect Park, an event made possible with the help from sponsors and organized by the Prospect Park Alliance. The Soiree is an annual cocktail gala that raises funds for Prospect Park, and features musical performances, an open bar, silent auction, hors d’oeuvres, and of course, a wonderfully fun and entertaining evening, held at the beautiful Prospect Park Boathouse.

Summer Soiree at Prospect Park is one of the most important fundraising nights of the year for the park, because ticket sales and support take up a huge chunk of the expenses needed to maintain the beauty of Prospect Park. The event receives support from community members and many local philanthropic organizations and individuals such as Diane Von Furstenberg, Jennifer Fisher, Warby Parker, and Brooklyn Brewery. Another advocate for the event is Brooklyn-based Mexican Summer Records, founded by local philanthropist Andres Santo Domingo, and whose recording artist Tamaryn will perform at the Soiree.

This year’s annual Summer Soiree to benefit Prospect Park will be held on July 24th, at 7pm. For more information about the event, and to purchase tickets, visit the official event page.


How Effective Are Galas at Raising Money?

gala event
IMG: Land Rover MENA via Flickr

Gala benefits have received their fair share of criticism over the years, with many individuals complaining that they are an inefficient way to make money for organizations. Indeed, galas do take a LOT of volunteer time and money to put together, but there’s no question that they can also bring in stunning amounts of donations when carried out properly.

Gala benefits require staff—waiters, bartenders, auctioneers, DJs, and more—and it’s not always possible to find good Samaritans willing to volunteer, so part of the revenue must go toward paying those employees. If a gala is carried out correctly, though, costs should be minimized and donations should far outweigh them; if not, an organization could lose money hosting a gala.

Gala benefits are hosted for a few purposes. First, they tend to get people excited about a cause. Second, they might honor a particularly committed or influential donor/community member. Third, they raise money through tickets, auctions, and donations. One-time donations are popular among guests who aren’t overly involved in the organization, but it’s certainly possible that other more committed donors could emerge.

Donations at gala benefits may not be as altruistic as simply writing and sending a check, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Revenues will be smaller because of the cost of the event, but donors will get a chance to socialize and get each other excited about the cause. This can ultimately create more “buzz” and awareness within the community, which could attract new supporters.

When organizing galas, groups should be sure that the hosting committee is full of influential and affluent members of the community. People with better connections will create a bigger buzz and can attract more donors and attendees. Some of the biggest and best galas have been hosted by well-known names: Actress Sarah Jessica Parker (Dance By Design), Vogue contributing editor Lauren and husband Andres Santo Domingo (DKMS Linked Against Blood Cancer), and businessman François-Henri Pinault and wife Salma Hayek (Costume Institute).


Jim C. Hines Fights Aicardi and Sexism

Jim C Hines
IMG: Craig Hebert /

Last year, Sci-Fi/Fantasy author Jim C. Hines decided he was fed up with the way women were depicted on the covers of books. He wanted to comment on it, but he also wanted to do so in a playful way that would catch people’s attention. So naturally, he decided to imitate the poses himself. What he got out of it was back pain—and a strong response from readers who either agreed with his sentiment or enjoyed the photos.

Rather than leave it at that, Jim C. Hines wanted to push the envelope a bit further. Next, he had his wife take photos of him posing again—but this time the males on covers. What he discovered was that males typically hold the position of dominance over a woman if they are both present—and if they are not, they still hold a “macho” pose. No strange contortions, no residual back pain for Hines at the end of the shoot.

In December, Jim C. Hines also decided to host a charity drive to raise money for Aicardi Syndrome. Aicardi Syndrome is a rare but vicious genetic disorder that can cause brain malformations, delays in development, seizures and more. Life expectancy is between 8 and 16 years old. Jim C. Hines has friends whose children suffer from Aicardi Syndrome—including one whose daughter recently passed away due to complications of it.

Hines told readers that in exchange for donations, he’d duplicate more book covers—at their request. If he raised his goal of $5,000 or more, he promised he’d gather together four other authors to duplicate the cover of Young Flandry at ConFusion: John Scalzi, Pat Rothfuss, Charles Stross, and Mary Robinette Kowal.

Needless to say, Hines met his goal and kept his promise. He raised a total of $15,405 for the Aicardi Syndrome Foundation, which funds research for treatment and helps family members of those afflicted stay connected with researchers. At the end of the day, Hines did some great work to be proud of. Not only did he bring the spotlight to sexist book covers and the portrayal of female characters, but he also raised a pretty penny to help in the fight against Aicardi Syndrome.


Auto Show Raises Nearly $4M for Children

auto show charity
Preparations are made for the 2013 Charity Preview. IMG: WWJ / Beth Fisher

The Auto Show’s Charity Preview, which took place last Friday, has earned serious commendations after it raised millions of dollars for Metro Detroit children’s charities. A stunning $3,920,700 was raised at the event, which is known worldwide for being the single largest single-night fundraising event.

The money raised by the event will go to nine different children’s charities. A total of 13,069 people attended the event, the “2013 North American International Auto Show Charity Preview.” The black tie event was, of course, also full of stunning cars for guests to “ooh” and “aah” over.

Jim Seavitt, who is chairman of the NAIAS 2013 was quite pleased with the turnout. “I’m tired and my feet are sore, but I am thrilled that the people of Detrout and Southeast Michigan have once again opened their hearts for our kids,” he said. “I have seen, from personal experience, the benefits that these funds provide, and I couldn’t be prouder to be part of one of the greatest events which provides the us the opportunity to do so much for so many.”

The event hasn’t raised this much money since 2008. Last year’s event had about 12,000 guests and raised $3 million, which means this year showed a more than thirty percent increase in funds raised.

The charities that will benefit include the Boys and Girls Clubs of Southeastern Michigan, Boys and Girls Hope Detroit, Children’s Center, The Children’s Hospital of Michigan Foundation, The Detroit Auto Dealers Association (DADA) Charitable Foundation Fund, a fund of the Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan, The Detroit Institute of Children, Judson Center, March of Dimes Metro Detroit, and Think Detroit PAL.

The event has raised over $90 million since 1976. Tickets to the event this year cost $300, with $290 being tax deductible. The public can see the show through January 27th. It features a total of around 60 vehicles that debuted from the world’s finest automakers.