Motown Memories To Be Held On April 25 – Brevard, NC
Last updated 3/4/2020 at 3:39pm
Rise & Shine Neighbors in Ministry’s annual fundraiser is known for combining a great party with the serious business of raising money for a worthy cause — an after-school tutoring program with a stellar record of boosting academic performance among economically disadvantaged scholars.
At this year’s event, called Motown Memories at the Copacabana and scheduled for 6 p.m. April 25 at the Brevard Music Center’s Straus Auditorium, the party should be better than ever. For the first time in the four-year history of Motown Memories, entertainment will be provided by a live musical act, renowned soul and jazz singer Reggie Headen of Asheville.
Also, the business will be even more serious.
The organization is feeling the economic pinch from the closure of Rise & Shine’s longtime patron, United Way of Transylvania County, which last year contributed $35,000 to the program, or about 20 percent of its annual budget.
To make up for that shortfall, the program is urging residents to not only attend the fundraiser, but, once there, to open their wallets. The goal is to raise twice as much money as last year.
“We’re going for $100,000,” said Elizabeth Pell, who along with Su Slover is co-chair of the event’s organizing committee.
One way to contribute is buying tickets, now available at the Brevard office of Rise & Shine at 290 Oakdale St., and at two downtown businesses, Highland Books and Broad Street Wines.
Organizers kept the price the same as last year, $65, to encourage the diverse crowd the event is known for.
“We agreed that was a good number to keep it affordable for a lot of people,” Slover said.
It’s a bargain, organizers say, considering the price of a ticket will cover highly danceable performances by Headen and his band, as well as by a trio performing hits by the famed Motown group, the Supremes. Attendees will dine on gourmet food catered by Brevard College in an open-air setting perfectly situated to capture the springtime beauty of the mountains. They will be given the chance to both contribute generously to Rise & Shine and zero waste to the county landfill, thanks to a partnership with a local environmental organization, Moving to Conservers.
Last year’s fundraiser was the group’s first major zero waste event and it led to widespread adoption of the practice Conservers advocates, using real glasses and china and either composting food waste or feeding it to livestock, said the organization’s coordinator, Kim Coram.
“We’ve just normalized that behavior so it becomes hard not to do it,” she said. “It’s a lot of work because it means we’ll have to wash hundreds of dishes and glasses, but it’s worth it. Basically, it means leaving no waste at all.”
Low ticket prices mean that even if Motown Memories sells out, as it has in recent years, the proceeds won’t come close to filling the needs of the program, which serves 50 students, called scholars, with an annual budget of more than $200,000.
In addition to buying tickets to the dinner dance, individuals and local businesses can contribute in three additional ways, Slover said.
They can contribute as a Rise & Shine sponsor in amounts ranging from $2,500, which includes eight free tickets to the fundraiser, to $250, which comes with one free ticket.
Donors can pledge “Helping Hands” contributions, which cover the costs of one scholar’s participation for varying periods of time.
“It connects the community to a child and helps support them throughout the school year,” Slover said. A contribution of $2,400 pays for one child to attend for a full school year while smaller amounts pay for shorter periods.
Finally, individuals or businesses can donate items for the auction before the event and/or offer high bids once these items go on the auction block. Rise & Shine is especially seeking marketable “experiences,” Slover said, such as “a fly-fishing excursion or a stay at a house in another country.” These tend to bring higher bids than merchandise, though she emphasized that all contributions are welcome.
To help drive up prices for big-ticket items and pitch Helping Hands contributions, Slover and Pell have enlisted the help of two community leaders as auctioneers. Terry Decker served as United Way board chairman and Michael Dexter-Smith is a certified mentor at SCORE, an organization of volunteers that helps guide small business.
“They are both incredibly dynamic men and know a lot about the community,” Slover said. “It’s going to be a really fun live auction.”
Pell and Slover haven’t forgotten that fun is half the point.
“Rise & Shine’s only annual fundraiser,” Pell said, “is also a chance to salute the great work of the organization’s volunteers, staff and scholars, more than half of whom have been named to their schools’ AB honor roll in recent years.”
“It’s a celebration,” Pell said.