The food bank paid an undisclosed fee to buy into the Wine, Women, and Shoes program. As part of the arrangement, the corporate office for the fund-raiser created an event Web site, helping with marketing; provided auction items, logos, and signage; lined up six wineries to provide tastings and sell wine; and also supplied some of the boutiques that participated in the event. The food bank provided staff for the event, lined up additional vendors and auction items, solicited sponsorships from area businesses, and recruited 20 local men to serve as roaming “Shoe Guys” who displayed the vendors’ merchandise on silver platters.
The food bank’s vice president of development, Greg Higgerson, said his organization had heard about the success of a Wine, Women, and Shoes fund-raiser in Sarasota and decided it was the ideal event to raise awareness of the nonprofit among an important demographic. “These women are in a perfect situation in terms of their means and their inclination to help others. So it’s going to create awareness of our mission with some well-targeted folks for the future and hopefully build some long-term relationships for us,” he said.
More than 300 attendees spent several hours in the hotel’s ballroom, shopping from vendors selling shoes, jewelry, purses, and other items. Each of the 11 participating boutiques donated 20 percent of their revenue to the food bank, while the wineries donated 10 percent of wine sales. The food bank also received all of the proceeds from the 175 silent and 11 live auction items. Hausman said they raised $80,000 from sponsorships, ticket sales, the live auction, and the raffle. She is still gathering figures from the silent auction and vendor sales.