(RICHMOND, Vir.) – Why make changes to an event that’s been successful for almost 50 years? Four years ago the organizers of the annual Children’s Hospital Foundation Ball, one of Richmond, Virginia’s most highly anticipated social events of the fall season, found themselves asking just that in response to an extraordinary offer from Richmond’s jewelers.
Since its debut in November of 1964, the elegant black tie affair hosted by the Junior Board of the Children’s Hospital Foundation has featured dinner, dancing and socializing. Eschewing additional “asks” at the event, such as auctions or raffles, their fundraising goals were achieved through the sales of tickets to the event; the event itself was reserved for fun. However, when Cheryl Fornash offered to create a ‘Jewels’ raffle for Children’s Hospital Foundation they reconsidered.
“We were familiar with the Jewels for a Cure raffle and quite thrilled about the opportunity Cheryl presented,” said Gentry O’Neill, a 2015 ball co-chair. “However, before we could accept we had to consider whether it would be too much to ask of our guests, and how it might affect the flow of the evening.”
With almost half of the 700 patrons at the ball attending as the guests of corporate sponsors, the committee ultimately decided that the ‘Jewels’ raffle would add a little sparkle to the event and provide a great way for guests to make a donation; and they reasoned, at $25 per chance or 5 tickets for $100, it would not be a hard sell or disrupt the flow of the evening.
“The collaboration of the jewelers is such a nice aspect of the raffle, it’s a wonderful display of community,” commented co-chair Katherine Houck. “After serving on other boards and soliciting gifts for other events, I was floored when Cheryl and her fellow jewelers came forward with $18,000 worth of jewelry without being asked. That doesn’t happen too often. When you see all of the pieces displayed together for the first time at the event, the breadth and size of the raffle collection is stunning. That the pieces are donated by Richmond’s most esteemed family-owned and historic jewelers makes it even more meaningful.”
Four years later the Jewels for Children raffle has melded into the fabric of the Children’s Hospital Foundation Ball as a highlight of the event. According to the co-chairs their guests have come to expect it. Noting that just about everyone who attends has a friend or acquaintance that has won something in the raffle. Board members also make a point of wearing their prizes to meetings and events.
In 2015, the Jewels for Children raffle raised $13,075, all of which will go directly to Children’s Hospital Foundation. The 2015 Jewels for Children jewelers were: Cheryl Fornash Jewelers, Adolf Jewelers, Carreras Jewelers, Charles Schwarzschild Jewelers, Cowardin’s Jewelers, Dransfield Jewelers, Fink’s Jewelers, Schwarzschild Jewelers and Victoria Charles Jewellery.
About the Junior Board of Children’s Hospital Foundation
An auxiliary of Children’s Hospital Foundation, the Junior Board has fifty members dedicated to furthering the Foundation’s mission. The Junior Board traces its roots to May 1933, when the Junior Board of the original Crippled Children’s Hospital was organized with a membership of twenty-five. Since 2000, the Board’s signature fundraising event, the annual Children’s Hospital Foundation Ball, has raised over $3.5 million to benefit Children’s Hospital Foundation.
Children’s Hospital Foundation is dedicated to funding and advocating for pediatric initiatives that improve the status of health care and the quality of life for the children in the Richmond, Virginia region. The Foundation provides support for the programs and initiatives of Children’s Hospital of Richmond at VCU and the children it serves.
About Jewels for Children
Since 2009, the “Jewels” raffles have raised over $83,000 in support of Richmond area non-profit organizations. The brainchild of Richmond jeweler Cheryl Fornash, the annual “Jewels” raffle features a collection of fine jewelry donated by a group of ten to twelve of Richmond’s most respected jewelers each year; with each jeweler donating a piece with a retail value of $1,500 or more. The 2015 Jewels for Children jewelers have participated in the “Jewels” raffles since their inception.