July 25, 2012
Story by Brandon Steinert
Jim and Kathy Vopat of Great Bend have long been supporters of Barton Community College and its Foundation, which offers unyielding support to the college’s students, faculty and staff. From membership on the Foundation Board of Directors to participation in fundraising projects, the Vopats have shown the extent to which they value the Foundation’s efforts.
Now they’ve taken it to the next level as the local couple is serving as honorary co-chairs of the Barton Foundation’s 34th Annual Big Benefit Auction, which is set for Sept. 29 at the Knights of Columbus building, 723 Main St. in Great Bend. Tickets for the auction, which is themed “Pigskin Pandemonium,” are still available beginning Aug. 15, and will be sold until Sept. 22.
They can be purchased for $30 each or $240 per table by calling the Foundation office at (620) 786-1136, or by sending an email to email@example.com .
The auction is the Foundation’s main fundraiser for academic scholarships and program enhancements. The doors open at 6 p.m. and the live auction starts at 8 p.m.
Jim and Kathy have been Great Bend residents for 21 years, but both grew up in central Kansas. Jim is a financial advisor for Edward Jones and Kathy is an office manager for a local engineering firm.
They said the primary reason for their involvement in the fundraiser is to give back to an organization that has played such a pivotal role in their children’s educations. Their daughters took Barton classes in high school, which helped them graduate early and save money in the long run. Many of their nieces and nephews have also utilized Barton or are currently enrolled.
“We are just so grateful for what Barton has done for our daughters and our family,” Jim said. “We see what Barton does for kids and where the Foundation’s money goes – there’s nothing better than giving money to kids who can’t otherwise acquire a college education. The more we educate people, the better off our community is.”
Kathy added the event is meant to be a fun-filled evening where friends can socialize over a meal and a fun, lighthearted auction.
“I want to invite everybody out to have a good time,” she said. “It’s such great fun.”
WAYS TO PARTICIPATE
1) Be a Major Event Sponsor. This elite group of $500 donors is the base group that builds the initial strength of the 2012 auction and its projected outcome. They receive a full-page ad in the auction catalog. A half-page ad may be purchased for $250.00. Both of these ads are eligible for a tax deduction since the cost exceeds the value determined by the circulation of said ad.
2) Be an Auction Underwriter with a business card size display ad in the auction catalog. The catalog serves as the official program and will be distributed the night of the event. The cost is $100.00 per ad. (Paid advertising does not qualify as a charitable income tax deduction.)
3) Be an Auction Donor by contributing new, quality items of tangible merchandise or valuable services. Be Creative!!! Any season of the year has it’s unique merchandise items.
4) Individuals May Donate Services: Window washing, lawn work, snow removal, baked goods (Christmas cookies or candies baked for the holidays), gift wrapping, etc. Anything and everything you can think of.
5) Be an Auction Cash Contributor with an outright cash donation. Even if you can't attend or donate merchandise, cash gifts help off-set auction-related expenses, therefore, maximizing the income generated from the other elements. Cash contributors are recognized in a special section of the catalog.
6) Purchase a Table for the event. $240.00 will allow eight individuals to attend this event, have a wonderful time, and contribute to a good cause
7) You may either purchase an item to donate, or donate according to their hobbies or talents (i.e. – afghans, food items, wreaths, embroidered clothing items, time shares, prepared gourmet dinners, artwork , etc.) Last year over 74 individuals donated items for the auction.