Black and White Gala raises money for YWCA
by Nancy Bomey, Asheville Citizen-Times
Put on your funkiest black-and-white outfit and get out your dancing shoes.
Organizers said that the YWCA’s fifth annual Black and White Gala on Thursday may be the biggest party of the year, complete with a live band for dancing, hors d’oeuvres for eating and dozens of auction items for bidding.
“In hard times, people want to feel good, and they also want to be able to help people in their community,” said Ami Worthen, marketing director at the YWCA. “The gala is a way for people to come and have a good time and support our programs, and with the economy the way it is, it’s needed more than ever.”
The YWCA expects to raise $25,000 through the gala to benefit the organization’s programs in child care, health care, education and improving earning power, Worthen said. She said the gala is especially important this year since donations to the YWCA are down because of the recession.
The downturn in the economy also led the organization to lower the ticket price to this year’s gala in an effort to make it more affordable and attract more people.
There are also more service-based items like haircuts, tree care and home organizing included in this year’s silent and live auctions.
“This year we did a lot of auction items that were suited a little bit better for the economy instead of luxury items,” said Jessica Guzman, president of the YWCA’s board of directors.
For those who do have some money to spend, Laurey Masterton is auctioning off a bee-themed dinner for 8 people at her house that includes a lesson in beekeeping and features food that wouldn’t be possible without the help of bees.
Masterton has auctioned off items at the gala before and has been an active member at the YWCA for many years, from being a board member to a regular at the health and fitness center. She said that she has seen the YWCA grow from a needy organization into a vibrant, rich, diverse place.
“It really is about the mission of the YWCA: empowering women and their families and eliminating racism,” Masterton said.
“That mission is unique to the YWCA … and it’s why I go there.”
If you go
The YWCA’s fifth annual Black and White Gala starts at 7 p.m. Thursday at The Orange Peel, 101 Biltmore Ave. Tickets are $40 or $75 for two. Dressy black-and-white attire is suggested. For more information, visit www.ywcaofasheville.org.
Photos of the 2008 Black & White Gala by Jason Sandford