News From Terre Haute, Indiana

Local & Bistate

December 23, 2013

‘No Show Gala’

Humane Society, Ivy Tech offer unique twist on traditional New Year’s party

TERRE HAUTE — Ivy Tech Community College and the Terre Haute Humane Society have teamed up for an unconventional fundraiser — a “No Show Gala” New Year’s Day Party on Jan. 1.

You buy tickets — but don’t show up, because the event is imaginary. That way, all proceeds of the tax-deductible gift will go toward a new home for the Terre Haute Humane Shelter, to be located in an Ivy Tech facility in the Vigo County Industrial Park.

“It’s an imaginary event for a very real cause,” according to a news release. “Support homeless animals and education in the most efficient way possible — don’t show up.”

Earlier this year, Ivy Tech-Wabash Valley and the THHS began the “quiet” phase of the campaign to raise $2.5 million.

The goal is to move the humane shelter to the Ivy Tech TechLAB facility (former Doughmakers), which would require renovation, and to equip space for veterinary technician and related programming.

The “No Show Gala” is the latest effort to raise money for the campaign.

“We know this event is a bit unconventional, but we think it is a great opportunity to get more folks involved in our efforts, and at the same time, designate a day to enjoy time with family,” said Ann Valentine, chancellor of Ivy Tech-Wabash Valley.

Any amount will be accepted, but for a table of 10, a $500 donation is requested. “No need to endure long speeches, rubber chickens or silent auctions,” according to information on the website. Table sponsors will have access to a Family Fun Pack with everything needed for a fun family day — dinner, a movie, fun and games.

Valentine said people can donate anytime, but for a tax-deductible gift in 2013, they will have to donate by Dec. 31.

Those who purchase tickets before 9 a.m. Thursday will be entered into a drawing for door prizes.

On Monday, Valentine provided an update on the overall campaign. “Generally, we’re pleased with the campaign progress,” she said.

The Terre Haute Humane Shelter is “in an urgent situation,” she said. The roof leaks and “water comes through very freely when it rains.” She witnessed that over the weekend while working on a rescue transport.

Also, doors and windows no longer seal properly. “It’s almost impossible to appropriately cool and heat the shelter,” she said. The current building also has ventilation, electrical and plumbing problems.

“We need the public to step up,” Valentine said. Everyone expresses their support for the Ivy Tech/THHS partnership, and now, the public is being asked to provide financial support as well.

The campaign hopes to gain some significant donations in upcoming months, and it also has been successful with some smaller grants.

“We are doing some more value engineering to see if we can get the costs down,” Valentine said.

The campaign isn’t ready to share how much it has raised, but she hopes to conclude fundraising by the end of June, she said.

Once those significant gifts come through, then, a public campaign will be launched. Right now, “We’re sort of in a soft launch,” she said.

The campaign also hopes to get Ellen DeGeneres involved, and “We have a contact,” Valentine said.

In fact, DeGeneres’ staff have asked for 1,200 letters written in support of the campaign to be electronically uploaded. “It was a tremendous amount of work,” Valentine said.

Valentine and others still hope to be able to personally deliver the letters to DeGeneres or her production team.

Sue Loughlin can be reached at 812-231-4235 or sue.loughlin@tribstar.com.

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