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Last Week’s Fund Raising Gala

October 30, 2018

EBPLF 100K check 102418

Last Wednesday we had a fund raising Gala for Children’s Literacy for the East Brunswick Public Library. It was sponsored by the EB Public Library Foundation of which I am treasurer and a board member. I was also on the Gala committee, and want to share some details of putting on such an event.

For starters, I was on the committee and had a specific job to do. This is the first time in a long while that I was on a committee rather than running the committee, and I have to tell you, it was eye opening. My job was involved and time consuming but it was a job. My only responsibility was to do it. When I was the chairman, it seems I was always busy, always checking up on everyone on the committee, always coordinating with the honorees and either charging them up or calming them down, always being asked to make decisions some of which were tough but most were the passing the buck upward types of issues, always worried we wouldn’t hit our numbers in journal ads and/or attendance, and always involved in some manner with everything that was being done. It was a lot easier this time without all of that, and while I originally thought that I should step up to chair it, our president Tracy Fink and fellow board member Cindy Schneider stepped up to co-chair the event, and they worked perfectly together. “Doing” is not the same as “managing or leading” – and I liked the doing part very well.

The Gala had 170 guests and was held at the classy Park Chateau in East Brunswick. The catering staff did a fantastic job and was also able to accommodate special dietary requests -Kosher, Gluten Free and vegetarian. The service was also extraordinary. This was coordinated with our committee, as was the beautiful fresh flower arrangement on each table, the sign-in of guests, and the very involved seating requests. The Journal was expertly designed by Jon Lee, a neighbor that volunteered and his talents made the Journal a true work of art. As with most Journals there were many last minute changes and additions and Jon handled it all with aplomb. The printer, MinuteMan Press of East Brunswick, “held the presses” until the last minute so we could get every last bit into the Journal and he actually delivered it earlier than promised removing some pressure from us. MMP also prepared a 4 foot long $100,000 check that was presented to the Library Board by our Foundation Board for the expansion and beautification of the children’s section.

Unsung heroes were the Library staff and in particular Daragh McAuley, Chris Barnes and Karen Violand. Also, Chris’ baby Charlotte cooperated fully by being born three weeks early so we had Chris’ full attention the last 10 days of the Gala.

The planning started in January and included forming a committee, coordinating with the library, obtaining the venue and negotiating the costs and setting the menu, reserving the date, developing a time line, lining up honorees and sponsors, compiling mailing lists, designing the invitation, inviting dignitaries, deciding on the color scheme and decorations, designing and ordering the plaques for the honorees, making decisions about other fund raising methods and myriad other tasks. Now we need to get the thank you and tax letters in the mail. We had plenty of good luck that was surrounded by a lot of hard work that appeared to be effortless, a great group of supporters and results that made everything we did very gratifying.

If you are planning an event, perhaps you can use this blog as a guide, and if you would like a copy of our checklist which is in the format of a timeline, email me at

Photo shows from left: Ed Mendlowitz, Wayne Christie, Library Board President, Jennifer Podolsky Library Director and Tracy Fink, Foundation President.

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