The 17th annual Butler Benefit Auction raised nearly $200,000, a new record

The 17th annual Butler Benefit Auction, held Friday at the Hubbard Welcome Center in El Dorado, raised nearly $200,000, a new record, from the live and silent auctions, sponsorships and, most notably, the Pure Philanthropy giving.

Pure Philanthropy is an appeal during the live auction when attendees have the option to make a 100 percent tax-deductible cash gift. More than doubling the 2013 auction, this year’s Pure Philanthropy brought in more than $58,000, an amount largely made possible by two $10,000 donations from Butler Foundation Board President and alumnus Lonnie Snook, and Butler alumnus and former Dr. Pepper CEO True Knowles of Dallas, Texas. The two men’s generosity seemed to inspire many of the other 350 attendees. Twenty-nine individuals and couples raised their bidder number to get in on the action.

“The generosity of our supporters help us meet our strategic mission of ‘ensuring student success’,” Dr. Kim Krull, Butler president, said. “We are so fortunate and thankful to have so many who support our efforts to help students finish what they start.”

Live auction items featured trips, parties and items from generous donors. The highest bid of the night came from Jim and Dianne Bosler of Ft. Worth, Texas, for an Italian dinner cooked by Dr. Pat Do and Dr. Jackie Vietti and hosted at Pat and Sylvia’s home in Wichita. Bosler paid $7,000 for the dinner, which will be a highlight evening.

Auctioneers Jeremy Sundgren of Sundgren Realty in El Dorado and Benefit Auction Specialist Charlie Moon spent the evening encouraging bidders and drawing laughs from the crowd, all the while helping raise funds to benefit student success at Butler. The live auction items brought in a total of more than $40,000, helping bring the evening’s total to $193,000.

Butler’s family environment within the college ensured plenty of help from employee volunteers and students. Premier Catering worked with Butler’s Hospitality Management and Culinary Arts students who worked as servers the night of the auction and helped with set-up the day before.

“The Foundation is vital in creating opportunities for Butler’s students and the Hospitality Management and Culinary Arts program was honored to be a part of Butler’s Foundation auction,” Lead Instructor Tiffani Price said. “When the students have the opportunity to participate in experiential learning outside the classroom it leads to their overall success. Everyone benefits when departments work together for Butler’s students.”

The success of Butler’s livestock judging team was also on display as the freshmen livestock judging students served as student volunteers assisting with coat check, live item display during the auction, selling drawing tickets and more. Many students studying agriculture at Butler receive at least $500 per semester from Butler Foundation scholarships.

“I’m extremely proud of the freshman judging team and their work and efforts Friday night,” Assistant Professor and Livestock Judging Coach Marcus Arnold said. “They were pumped up and excited about how the event turned out and that they got to be involved. It was great watching them interact with donors and alumni as they represented the judging team and the school.”

Listed as one of the Wichita Business Journal’s Top 25 Fundraising Events in the area, the Butler Benefit Auction serves to benefit student success at Butler by providing monetary support to the Butler Foundation, which in turn ensures the Foundation’s ability to continue to raise funds for scholarships, programs, and capital support for the college.

“We believe that everyone deserves an opportunity for a solid, well-rounded education, no matter what stage of life they may be in,” Honorary Auction Chairs Matt and Pam Cross said in their message to attendees. “Butler is here to enrich and change lives for the future.”

The Foundation’s most recent campaign saw the successful completion of the Hubbard Welcome Center on the El Dorado campus and the BG Products Veterans Sports Complex.

“It is so heartwarming to see our friends support the work and mission of the foundation so that we are able to provide scholarships to students,” Vice President of Institutional Advancement Stacy Cofer said. “Each day we are made aware of the student who has a brighter future and remains in college because a private donor has been generous.”