Wonders & Worries Gala Shatters Fundraising Record
By Rob Giardinelli
Photography by Marc Swedner Photography
THE SCENE: The JW Marriott in downtown Austin was the setting for Wonders & Worries’ third annual Unmasked Masquerade ball. Over 400 sociables turned out for an evening that also unmasked a new fundraising record and included a special surprise tribute.
THE VIBE: As guests entered to the ballroom foyer, they were treated to displays of fun and festive masks from around the world – from the locales of Austin to the mecca of the masquerade, Venice. The crowd socialized as they previewed the live auction items, and bid on the silent auction until the time came to enter the ballroom for the main event.
Rod Barbers emceed the evening with effortless charm. While partygoers dined on the delicious cuisine, the lively program unfolded. The program included a video of Reese Bain, daughter of the event chairs, who delivered a personal message on how Wonders & Worries helped her through a difficult time. The festivities continued as Heath Hale led the spirited live auction that featured, among other things, a fly-fishing trip to Colorado complete with transportation on a private jet. The highlight of the evening was the surprise video tribute to Wonders & Worries co-founder Meredith Cooper, who thanked the appreciative crowd for all their support over the fifteen-year history of the organization. The festive mood continued as guests danced the night away to the spins of DJ Gatsby.
THE CAUSE: The third annual event, chaired by Shelly and David Bain, raised a record $460,000 for Wonders & Worries, which provides support to children age 2-18 whose parent is suffering a serious illness. Since its inception in 2001, over 6,500 children have received assistance from the organization.