From Helene Herbert, of the Asheville Affiliates -
Networking opportunities are plentiful around Asheville. But none have the impact of those hosted by the Asheville Affiliates, an organization of community-minded professionals who partner with nonprofits to plan and execute after-work “parties with a purpose” – that is, fun networking events that help raise funds (and friends) for those nonprofit organizations.
Since its inception in 1999, the Affiliates have raised over $265,000 and helped more than 50 organizations. To ensure that those selected to benefit from an Affiliates event make a meaningful impact in the community, nonprofits must participate in an extensive application process.
Four organizations are chosen each year and collaborate in all aspects of producing the fundraiser with Affiliates members, from branding, budgeting and venue selection to marketing and securing sponsorships. Each Affiliates event includes raffles and silent auctions to help raise funds, and thanks to significant support from Asheville’s business community, all proceeds go directly to the nonprofit partner. (Take a look at the Affiliates’ website and Facebook page for photo galleries from past events, including the last one, benefiting Colburn Earth Science Museum.)
The next party thrown by the Asheville Affiliates is Stir Crazy, happening Thursday, July 24 from 6-9 p.m., at The Boathouse on 318 Riverside Drive in Asheville’s River Arts District, next to the new Smoky Park Supper Club. The fundraiser will benefit Blue Ridge Food Ventures, a shared-use commercial kitchen and manufacturing facility for entrepreneurs who want to take their food and natural product ideas to market. Since its launch in 2005, Blue Ridge Food Ventures has helped 250 small businesses get their start.
The event will feature food, craft beer, wine and a signature Summer Stir cocktail (all covered by the price of admission - $20 online or $25 at the door – and all donated by community businesses). Silent auction items range from a fishing boat worth $1,400 to weekend getaways, zipline passes, gift certifications to restaurants and cultural events, and even vouchers for veterinary, legal, car maintenance, car maintenance, tattoo, and accounting services! Plus, there’ll be dancing to a vibrant mixture of upbeat gypsy jazz from the band One Leg Up.
Affiliates events are not to be missed, and Stir Crazy is certainly no exception. “This is going to be one of the hottest parties in town this summer” says Kathi Petersen, Senior Vice President, Corporate & Public Relations for AdvantageWest, the economic development organization behind Blue Ridge Food Ventures. “We were thrilled to be selected as one of the Affiliates’ nonprofits this year and are excited about partnering with the organization to offer an event of this caliber. We deliberately chose this date ─ what traditionally would kick off Bele Chere – and with a name like Stir Crazy, we expect it to be just as festive!”
For more information and to buy tickets, visit the Stir Crazy website and Facebook page. To learn about Blue Ridge Food Ventures and the amazing local entrepreneurs they serve, check out this great video produced at no charge to Blue Ridge Food Ventures by one of the Affiliates’ annual sponsors, BClip Productions.
Then watch for more Affiliates parties with a purpose, with events later in 2014 to benefit Connect Buncombe and T.H.E. Center for Disordered Eating. Join us!
Helene Herbert is a member of the Asheville Affiliates Board of Directors and serves as Development & Communications Manager for HandMade in America.