Supporters of The Bubel/Aiken Foundation had the opportunity to share in a most inspirational and memorable evening to benefit The Bubel/Aiken Foundation on March 31, 2007 at the Cardinal Club in Raleigh, NC. The very special gathering was to celebrate and recognize the achievements of "Champions of Change" and to support the Foundation’s mission of inclusion.
The evening began with people gathering in the lobby of the beautiful Wachovia building for registration and then proceeding to the Cardinal Club for an hour of cocktails and hors d’oeuvres. During the cocktail hour, Platinum and Gold sponsors were given the opportunity to have a photo taken with Clay Aiken. Simultaneously, a silent auction in the Cardinal Club lobby gave attendees an opportunity to preview and bid on Clay Aiken memorabilia, as well as a number of beautiful gift baskets and donated items from local merchants. A raffle also provided an opportunity to win various prizes.
Dinner in the main dining room followed and the exceptional Cardinal Club service and attention to detail was enjoyed by all.
After dinner, the crowd moved to the North Dining Room for the presentation of the Champion of Change Awards, to be followed by the Live Auction. Lynda Loveland of WRAL served as Mistress of Ceremonies and set the tone for the wonderful presentations to follow. She spoke briefly on the Foundation and the evening’s program, and then introduced Diane Bubel and Clay Aiken, co-founders of the foundation. The audience was inspired by both their speeches, and Diane touched everyone’s heart when she spoke of her son Mike.
Diane proved once again that she is a true advocate for inclusion, and she continues to inspire everyone who is lucky enough to hear her speak with passion about inclusion and her very special family. Clay’s speech about how we all can be Voices for Change was equally inspiring and passionate.
Kristy Barnes, President of TBAF, also spoke on the efforts of the Foundation and its programs, and a video presentation on the TBAF summer camps and programs was presented.
Mr. Ken Cassis presented an $8,000 grant to TBAF and followed it up with a $1,000 donation of his own. Mr. Cassis is a member of the Million Dollar Round Table. MDRT’s vision is to be the premier charitable foundation involving all members and improving the quality of life for those in need. Mr. Cassis approached the Foundation about applying for a grant and supported TBAF throughout the process. He then traveled from Canada to help TBAF celebrate the award.
The highlight of the evening was the presentation of the Champions of Change awards. Awards of recognition for their efforts and continuous devotion to making a difference were presented to Jonathan Bunzey, the Youth Honoree ,Coach Jim Johnson, State Farm Insurance , and The Voices of Beta Alpha Volunteers. All the honorees graciously accepted their awards and showed a truly humble spirit in the midst of their incredible work to open doors for inclusion for children in their communities.
A Live Auction followed, and the generosity of the supporters was overwhelming. It was wonderful to see Clay Aiken interacting with the audience and the auctioneer in an effort that ended up surpassing all expectations. By the end of the auction, Clay announced that the supporters had more than paid for the Foundation’s “Let’s ALL Play” summer camps for the entire 2007 summer. That was very gratifying to all the people who work so hard all year long to make this happen. At the conclusion of the Live Auction, Clay Aiken and Quiana Parler, accompanied by Jesse Vargas, sang in a special performance which was a beautiful ending to an inspiring and memorable evening.
At the end of the evening, supporters had helped to raise $333,238.45! Special thanks to all of the supporters, volunteers, auction donors, and Cardinal Club staff that made such a success possible.
Another special thanks also goes out to all the groups around the country who were not able to attend the Gala Benefit Dinner, and organized galas in their own locales to support this effort.
(Thank you to Cindy Skuce who assisted in the writing of the recap.)