By: Holly Odgers
Planning for our annual Gala, our biggest fundraiser of the year, began in winter. As concerns and restrictions surrounding COVID-19 continued through the spring, however, it was clear that our usual gathering at the Lake Hopatcong Yacht Club would have to be reconsidered. It was a big learning curve for us to pivot into the world of virtual auctions and livestream events but, with the unwavering support of an extremely hardworking committee, it was a pleasure finding our way through this new territory. We're thrilled that the end result was an event that still brought people together (even if only online), while reaching our fundraising goal, making it one of our most successful fundraising events ever!
It took a whole lot of dedicated people to make it all happen, and we would like to thank everyone who played a part in making our first-ever virtual auction such a success.
We're extremely grateful to the members of our Auction Committee, who remained flexible in their vision, while holding steadfast in their desire to create a meaningful and successful fundraiser. They included: Co-chairs Lisa Hirschfeld and Pat Hoferkamp, Stacey Allen, Mike Broking, Janine Byrne, Karen Foley, Debbie Hartman, Linda Karpiak, Jimmy Leffler, Karen Porfido, Michelle Sellaro, and Laura Stanzillis. It was a great crew and we thank each and every one of them for their dedication!
We also want to recognize the two Johns! John Pope, from John Pope Productions, was essential in helping us navigate the often-choppy waters of livestream events. His expertise in videography and technology kept us moving forward and looking good and we're extremely grateful for his time and assistance. We also have a big shout-out to John Byrne, along with Pat Hoferkamp and Lisa Hirschfeld, for being our on-screen talent. John's unique combination of professionalism and humor kept the production sailing along smoothly. We appreciate him for dusting off his tux, taking the lead in front of the camera, and making us all smile.
Our sincere appreciation also goes to those who created videos and clips and also to those who provided entertainment during our livestream events. Hollie Howard, Bob Magnuson, and Henry Shapiro deserve a boatload of gratitude for making our shows shine. We're truly fortunate to have such talented people who are willing to share their gifts in support of our lake.
Finally, we'd like to thank everyone who bought and sold raffle tickets. Congrats to our winners: first place was ticket No. 182; second place was 132; and third place, 170. And, of course, none of our success would have been possible without our generous sponsors and journal advertisers, along with everyone who donated items to the auction, participated in the auction, and made monetary donations. All proceeds are critical in continuing our many programs and initiatives, focused on fostering a vibrant and healthy Lake Hopatcong and its surrounding community.
Bidding is now closed for our virtual auction. However, items that received no bids will be available for purchase, at their opening bid amounts, for a limited time. Group experiences that did not sell out will also be available. They can all be viewed at lhfauction.givesmart.com.
If you missed our livestream “Auction Kickoff" or “Set Sail Celebration," you can view replays on our Facebook page or YouTube channel.
Thanks again to all!