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Hi-Hope gala to be 'non-event'

Photo by Corinne Nicholson

Photo by Corinne Nicholson

LAWRENCEVILLE -- In a twist on fundraising, one local charity is hoping people will "buy a ticket to stay home."

Three years after the hiatus of Hi-Hope Center's annual gala, the service center for developmentally disabled adults hopes people will save the cost of a tuxedo and dress but still give with its first ever "non-event."

"Now more than ever Hi-Hope needs the support of the community to sustain this critical work," said Director Susan Boland-Butts. "Individuals with developmental disabilities are living longer and are requiring a greater level of support to meet their changing needs. Their caregivers are aging and are less and less able to support their own family members with disabilities. Public funding sources that have long supported adults with developmental disabilities are increasingly at risk or are not sufficient to meet the changing needs of these individuals. Our community plays a significant role in ensuring that these safety net services can not only be offered, but provided at a level of quality that any of us would want for our own family members."

After 29 years, the annual black-tie gala was nixed after the economy crash caused sponsors to back out in 2008.

At $150,000 a year, it was Hi-Hope's biggest fundraiser. With hopes to restart the gala tradition next spring, development consultant Yvonne Whitaker said the charity hopes to raise $50,000 with this year's non-event.

Invitations will go out later this week, with RSVP cards giving people the ability to donate the price of a ticket ($125) or two, an auction item ($500), the price of an outfit and sitter ($150) or any amount of their choosing.

Even without an opportunity to wear it, Tara Fine Jewelry has donated a diamond pendant featuring 249 round diamonds, valued at $2,495 for a raffle. Tickets are $25 each or $100 for five tickets. The raffle winner will be notified June 17.

Some big names in the community have signed on to sponsor the "29th and Holding Hi-Hope Gala Stay at Home Event," including E.R. Snell Contractor, Dennis and Betty Taylor, Bill and Martha Gunter, Wayne and Carolyn Hill, JWB Realty Services and Brenda and Travis Pruitt, along with the jewelry company.