An Evening to Empower: Students Today, Leaders Tomorrow - The Recap

Well, the big night that we’ve been planning for months finally happened last Friday. An Evening to Empower was a big success thanks to all of you, our many supporters! We had 140 guests and raised $32,000 which will be used for the upcoming school year’s programming, next summer’s camp fees, and to grow our college scholarship fund. In case you missed it, here’s a recap:

When the doors at Yolo opened, the night kicked off with photos of our fabulously dressed guests by Heather Applegate of Life’s Journey Photography and live music by the Todd Harrold Band. Brandon Foundation students escorted patrons to their tables in the banquet hall. Inside, Teresa Yarbrough of Expressions Studio Gallery had started a live painting that would be auctioned off later in the evening as a part of the live auction. Our guest of honor was “the real Brandon” who inspired the creation of the organization. Guests perused the selection of silent auction packages and put in initial bids, feeling out how much competition they’d have for the items they wanted most. Granite City provided beer tastings to pair with the crab cake and caprese skewer appetizers. Following dinner, the B Foundation Step Team gave a stellar performance! Coach Adrian has instilled in them incredible discipline, and I, for one, was extremely impressed by the routine.

Ryan Clark of Dynamic Sound Entertainment emceed the rest of the night and kept the good vibes rolling. Next, we heard from a few very important adults members of our organization. Miss Caty, the founder, greeted the audience and spoke about The Brandon Foundation’s core values. Miss Rebecca, vice president of the board of directors and mentor, spoke about the important role that parents have and why their partnership has been critical to our success. Then, Rockell Franklin, the mother of our two oldest young men, expressed the impact that The Brandon Foundation has had on her and her family’s life. Finally, Melissa Hirsch, secretary of the board, closed an emotional and powerful segment of the evening by announcing Sara’s Service Scholarship. The award was created in honor of Miss Sara, one of our first mentors, who recently found out about a serious health issue. Students will be able to apply for the award for use towards higher education, and the decision criteria will involve financial need, academic achievement, and an exceptional community service record, just as Miss Sara herself has had in the Fort Wayne community.

The evening’s excitement culminated in the live auction, called by Jerry Ehle and Max Woebbeking of Schrader Real Estate & Auction of Fort Wayne. A few intense bidding battles ensued, but the ice was broken by the surprise of finding that some packages had a twin! There were 2 craft beer buckets and 2 gourmet dinners with Chef Eric Braun to be auctioned off. Shortly after the live auction finished up, silent auction bidding closed. Guests collected their new treasures, grabbed a bite of cheesecake and headed home for a much deserved good night’s rest.
If you didn’t make it this year, we hope you’ll join us next time!

To see all of our photos, use the QR code below!

Thank you for reading!

Abby Bormann & The Brandon Foundation