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North Marion Auction rakes in money, seeks new board members

by: PHIL HAWKINS - The biggest items at the The North Marion Auction and Benefit Dinner were saved for the live auction  to end the evening.The annual North Marion Dinner and Benefit Auction reached several milestones at Saturday’s event, held at Woodburn Health Center.

Not only was the fundraiser closing in on a quarter of a million dollars raised over the benefit’s seven-year history, according to committee chair Rich Hunt, but it was time for a changing of the guard.

As dinner concluded and the oral auction was set to begin, Hunt announced that the auction committee’s eight-person board was stepping down to make room for a new generation of volunteers.

“At this point, everybody felt it was time for us to move on,” Hunt said after the event. “We’ve been doing this together for so long that we really like each other and none of us can imagine doing this without each other.”

One of the primary reasons for the change was that many board members no longer have children enrolled in the North Marion School District. Hunt’s youngest child graduated from North Marion five years ago. Others are in the same situation or have children ready to graduate soon, leaving many board members without their main connection to the school district.

by: PHIL HAWKINS - The auction opened with a silent auction courtesy of dozens of donations from local individuals and businesses.“Without being in the school on a day-to-day basis, involved with your kids’ lives there, you kind of lose touch with things,” said Hunt, who expects the transition to be smooth since the current board will help the new board in an advisory role for next year’s auction benefit. “It’s not so much to lead them, but to help them. It’s a pretty steep learning curve if you’ve never done it before. We’re not looking for people to step in and do the same thing we did. If someone’s got a vision of what they want to see happen, our purpose is to help them achieve that. That’s what we want to see happen.”

Of course, the current fundraiser model has been a massive success in the previous six years, having raised more than $185,000 since the first fundraiser in 2008. Event organizers were working toward a goal of $50,000 from this year’s auction, though the exact amount raised was not available at the time of publication.

Last year’s auction raised $37,135, a personal best for the committee. Those funds were dispersed to the district’s four schools for items as big as the senior all-night graduation party ($4,000) and laptops for the primary school computer lab ($3,000), to smaller items such as digital cameras for kindergarten, office supplies for the middle school and a sports marketing banner at the high school — all of which cost under $400.

by: PHIL HAWKINS - Following the silent auction portion of the fundraiser, guests were invited to a barbecue dinner catered by Loco Ono BBQ of Salem. At the conclusion of the meal, the oral auction opened. It was hosted by North Marion alum and assistant baseball coach Ty Brack and called by veteran auctioneer Gary McLaren of the Aurora Colony Auction House.Although there are more requests for funds than the committee is able to disperse, Hunt admits that the most exciting part of the fundraiser is giving out the money after the big event.

“We don’t know the dollar number yet, but I think we did well,” he said. “We’re looking forward to seeing that little bit, and then the best part of it is giving that money away.”

After the funds are dispersed, the board will turn its attention to finding new members to take over. There is a lot of work that goes into the event each year, particularly as it gets closer to game time in April, but Hunt believes the committee can find dedicated individuals to make the transition to the eighth auction in 2015 an easy one.

“We had a couple people interested, but nobody’s really stepped forward and said they want to do it,” Hunt said. “We’ve got time. We’re not concerned. We believe that the right people will step forward.”

For more information on volunteer opportunities with the North Marion Dinner and Benefit Auction, contact Rich Hunt at 503-981-8501 or email nmauction@gmail .com.



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  • 21 Oct 2014

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