Clinton makes annual fundraiser a hot ticket
A Remarkable Evening on Nov. 29 has been sold out since Aug. 1
The New Albany Community Foundation's 10th annual A Remarkable Evening, which will feature former President Bill Clinton as the speaker, has been sold out for weeks.
"We announced at the end of May and we've been sold out since Aug. 1," said Lisa Hinson, spokeswoman for the Thursday, Nov. 29, fundraising event.
Hinson said previous foundation supporters and community members turned in their requests for tickets in record time, which meant that the fundraiser wasn't marketed to anyone outside the community. Last year's event sold out in two-and-a-half months to set the previous record.
About 500 people are expected to attend.
All of the proceeds benefit the New Albany Community Foundation because much of the event is underwritten by the New Albany Co. Leslie and Abigail Wexner underwrite the cost of the speaker and host the event at their home in New Albany.
Last year's event, which featured former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice as the speaker, raised a record $1 million for the community foundation.
The proceeds from this year's A Remarkable Evening will be announced the night of the event, which is the community foundation's standard procedure.
Craig Mohre, executive director of the New Albany Community Foundation, previously said the sponsorship levels and seat prices were higher than previous years.
Three levels of sponsorship were available: $5,000, which included two tickets; $25,000, which included a table for 10; and $75,000, which included a table for 10 and title sponsorship.
Mohre said each year the foundation hopes to increase the donations, which help support the foundation's four main focuses: the arts, education, the environment and health. All of its grants are devoted to one or more of those areas.
This year, the foundation has provided nearly $500,000 in grants for educational programs through the New Albany-Plain Local School District and New Albany branch of the Columbus Metropolitan Library; for benchmarking studies by the New Albany-Plain Local School District; for author visits to each New Albany school building; for a New Albany student-produced video about the community; and for the establishment of an environmental education center on the New Albany district campus.
Funding also went to the Jeanne B. McCoy Community Center for the Arts endowment and such local arts organizations as the New Albany Ballet Company, New Albany Arts Council and New Albany Symphony Orchestra.
Typically, the foundation asks its A Remarkable Evening guest speaker to give a lecture to local students during the school day.
Hinson said this year, the student lecture was not possible with Clinton's schedule, so the foundation arranged for Dr. Paul Farmer speak to students Nov. 29.
"Given the nature of (Clinton's) life, the timing is difficult," Hinson said. "Dr. Farmer is an exceptional surrogate."
Farmer is connected to Clinton through Partners in Health, a nonprofit organization he founded that provides health-care options for the poor. The Clinton Global Initiative supports Partners in Health, which worked in Haiti, at first treating HIV and AIDS patients and in more recent years tackling "disease and poverty, providing food, water, education and housing to sick patients," according to the organization's website.
New Albany students are learning about all aspects of Farmer's work in Haiti, from the challenges of obtaining clean drinking water to establishing sustainable businesses that can help feed people in the poverty-stricken nation. A group of parent volunteers also worked with the schools to design educational programs that teach students the importance of helping others who are less fortunate.
Farmer will speak to New Albany High School students and students from five other districts at the McCoy center. A live webcast will be shown in the high school gymnasium for other students.
Hinson said the two facilities can seat 1,750 students. Community members will be invited to view the live webcast from the high school mini theater, which seats 150. Others can watch it online at www.newalbanyfoundation.org/farmer.