On Thursday, June 9th, the greater Fiver community gathered at Tribeca Three Sixty° for the 17th Annual Fiver Benefit. We welcomed members of the Fiver family, both new and old, for an evening of celebration, reflection, and excitement for what lies ahead.
The benefit is more than just our largest fundraising event of the year; it’s a time to acknowledge the diligence of our Fivers, the growth of our organization, and the strength of our community. Since our benefit last year, we have seen the graduation of 37 Fiver participants, introduced exciting new events and programming such as Fiver’s Got Soul and Fiver’s First Annual Fall Fest, and launched our first Send a Kid to Camp Campaign which raised more than $9,000 for this year’s campers.
Last year’s benefit was a huge success, raising more than $420,000 towards creating impactful programming for our participants. This year, our goal was to break $400,000 once again; an ambitious objective, but one parallel with the aspirations of our organization. While the numbers have yet to be finalized, we know that we have exceeded this goal, and have once again raised more than $420,000. We want to thank the more than 400 attendees, corporate donors, and families who helped us in this achievement: Your contributions and support will pave the road to an engaging and fulfilling future for our program’s participants, and we could not be more grateful.
To echo Tom Tucker’s speech last night, the benefit would not have been possible without the tireless work of many people. Tom himself is certainly one of them, as he continues to spearhead this organization, inspiring us with his generosity, kindness, and character. Our program owes a huge thank you to Christie Ko, Alli James, and Rachel Sangalang, all of whom spent countless hours-- both in and out of the office—creating the evening’s program, recruiting volunteers, dealing with donor logistics, promoting the event online, corresponding with the venue, and every other administrative task from managing the auction website to organizing the day-of set up. An auction is nothing without great auction items, and Christine Bazylevsky, Chair of the Auction Committee, devoted immense time and effort towards soliciting the unique, beautiful, and notable items that were auctioned off last night. She also played a fundamental role in the event’s execution, delegating responsibility amongst the Auction Committee members and assisting with coordination. We would like to express our sincerest gratitude to auctioneer Jennifer Wright from Christie's; Zhao Wen Li-Steinhardt for her promotional graphic design work; all of the volunteers who dedicated their evening to ensuring our event ran smoothly; and Michele Brazil, Elliott Ashby, Joey Cole, Phoenix Higgins, and Asha Mevlana for their work on the Fiver Story video.
Last but certainly not least, we would like to thank our honorees, the Roper family. Current Vice Chairman of Fiver’s Board of Directors and former Chair of the Fundraising Committee, Jim Roper has been an integral part of our organization since its inception: he is an original board member, one of the eight colleagues and coworkers Tom Tucker called upon to help create Fiver. Jim’s wife Geri has played an important part in our organization as well, creating such programs as the Ladies Luncheon, which has introduced hundreds of women to the Fiver mission. Just as the Roper family’s support over the years has been an indispensable component in forming the tightly-knit Fiver network we know and love today, Fiver has played an important part in the lives of the Roper family, serving as a foundation for learning the importance of community service for Jim and Geri’s children growing up. Now adults, they have used this foundation to create their own avenues for giving back. Collectively, their careers and passions include practicing medicine in underserved communities, philanthropy, inspiring political change, and preserving the environment.
Each year, the Fiver benefit is a whirlwind of sentiments for all those involved. When the dust settles, however, two emotions always remain: gratitude and excitement. With summer just around the corner, we now look ahead towards creating yet another meaningful camp experience and formative Summer in the City programming. The support of the Fiver community is the wind in our sails, and after last night’s event, we are most certainly moving forward full sail.
Posted on Tue, June 14, 2016
by Rachel Sangalang