Esprit Award Series: Best Event for a Nonprofit Organization
Thursday, March 21, 2019
The ILEA Esprit Awards program is a dynamic industry awards programs, attracting an exceptional range, depth and quality of entries from all areas of live and special events. The 2018 Esprit Awards Gala was held at ILEA Live on Friday, 17 August 2018, in Denver. There were 36 different categories and over 45 winners. For the past few months, ILEA Experience has been showcasing these recipients and their award-winning events.
Best Event for a Nonprofit Organization (under $75,000 USD)
Celebrate: A Festive Evening Toasting 25 Years of Saving Lives
Recipient: Deborah Hermann, CWP, GhostLight Productions LLC
“Celebrate: A Festive Evening Toasting 25 Years of Saving Lives” was an amazing evening to celebrate the 25th anniversary and founder of LifeAct, as well as to pledge that all efforts to prevent suicide will continue for the hundreds of milestone anniversaries yet to come. It was a tricky subject and a tricky task. Suicide prevention is not cocktail party chatter in the best of scenarios, so making an entire evening on the topic could be, well, downright depressing. With this in mind, my company was tasked with walking the very thin line between life and death and celebrating the reasons to live, as well as LifeAct’s role in that story. How to celebrate that story in a respectful and meaningful way was the first hurdle. Finding the right location was imperative and the Aloft Hotel on the banks of the Cuyahoga River was the perfect answer. From then on, a remarkable journey of hope, healing and happiness was crafted from a traditional fundraising model (cocktails, silent auction, dinner, featured speaker, awards, fund-a-need ask, desserts and dancing). What we didn’t plan was for the attendees to bring with them the spirit of their individual cleansing and healing journeys. The warmth of the combined stories radiated through the venue and a new emboldened spirit of generosity arose like a phoenix to set a record fundraising goal.
Best Event for a Nonprofit Organization ($75,000 - $150,000 USD)
Hearts Out 2017
Recipient: Jessica Tkachuk, Boom Goes The Drum Inc.
Started by Shirley Penner in the 1980s, with just a small group of big-dreaming kids, The Youth Singers has since grown to be one of Calgary’s most established arts organizations. Until 2016, YSC relied on a fundraiser called “Hearts for Arts,” which saw declining patronage and lost funds year after year. Our production team decided to flip the fundraiser on its head and revitalize both the event experience and revenue strategy through a new name and branding. Engaging 30 influencers to experience the magic of music sent the promotion of Hearts Out on an unforgettable journey of passion, empowerment, unexpected friendships and music. A video was created showcasing the influencers’ experience with the youth of the Youth Singers that would debut at Hearts Out telling the story through refreshed eyes and leverage the influence of the 30 influencers. Moving from traditional hotel ballrooms of the past, Hearts Out was held at the newly built Bell National Music Centre (NMC). Prominent community figure and former member of the a cappella quartet “The Hedee-Jeebee’s” Ken Lima-Coelho emceed the event and took VIP guests through a lively “Allegro Auction” (allegro being a musical term for quick-paced). The auction was more like an incredibly fun, fast-paced lottery. The creation and management of the auction committee was the key to the auction’s success and ended up being one of the most anticipated and celebrated parts of the entire event. Hotel Arts dazzled the taste senses with award-winning canapés and cocktails. Our production team dreamed up a quirky revenue strategy of roaming envelopes sold for 50 with a prize valued anywhere from $20-$100. An hour of mixing an mingling led to the main programing and included a performance by The Youth Singers’ SHINE group, a debut of the “30 for 30” video, and a compelling call to action all filled the following 40 minutes. Afterwards, an after party DJ set by DJ Goodword, an established Calgary DJ, and DJ Dillon, a 14-year-old superstar, lit up the dance floor as new school met old school. In the end, the event raised $82,000.
Best Event for a Nonprofit Organization (over $150,000 USD)
Beauty Changes Lives
Recipient: Kathy Miller, Total Event Resources
America’s Beauty Show’s Signature Event, Beauty Changes Lives, was held on March 25, 2017 at the Art Institute of Chicago. For this high profile, nonprofit event, our team reinvented and designed a high-energy fashion show that incorporated 12 sponsors and showcased 23 next-generation stylists. The evening also honored industry stalwarts Arnie and Sydell Miller and inspired an audience of 850 beauty influencers to light up social media with an impressive reach. Our team’s mission was to brainstorm and produce a concept that blazed new trails and created an awe-inspiring buzz for a crowd of beauty influencers. We deconstructed the event and reimagined everything from scenic to sponsor branding and interaction. It was a strategic event design that integrated the sponsors into the show and immersed the audience in the experience. The approach generated excitement, and social media lit up in response.
Stay tuned for the next installment of the Esprit Recipient Reviews!
Tags: Esprit Awards , Events Photography , Events Filmography