NEW YORK IML devices, Q.R. codes, and text-to-pledge campaigns may be the latest media for fund-raising these days, but sometimes a good old-fashioned live call for donations works just as well. At the fifth Stoked Awards on Wednesday night, the nonprofit for youth development through action sports raised $110,000, inviting the 300 guests gathered at the Union Square Ballroom to commit sums on the spot. Of course, it did help that the night's M.C. was Sal Masekela, the energetic X Games host and co-founder of Stoked, and that an anonymous donor had already made a substantial $10,000 gift. To add a lighthearted spin on what could be an awkward situation for guests, each donor received a glow-in-the-dark headband to wear.
The rest of the night was just as festive, beginning with a lively cocktail reception before moving on to the quick and straightforward presentation of four awards. Masekela kept the proceedings spirited, but brief with jokes and personal notes, while co-founder Steve Larosiliere handed out trophies—boxes with miniature skateboards inside—to the year's best volunteer Leanne Foseca, board member and Los Angeles committee chair Ann Kaatz, and supporter (and professional skateboarder) Paul Rodriguez. The night even honored the best pair from Stoked's program, Armani Green and her mentor, Jeanne Rousseau.
Stoked, which started in 2005 and now reaches around 500 kids in New York and Los Angeles, said it exceeded its fund-raising goal at the awards.