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Inside the Monsanto Family YMCA’s Dinner, Dance and Silent Auction

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Valentine’s Day is the perfect opportunity for community rec centers to attract new members with love-themed meals or a parents night out. In less common cases, however, the holiday can be the backbone of a cocktail attire fundraiser.

The Monsanto Family YMCA in St. Louis, Missouri, has taken this approach to its annual Valentine’s Day event. On February 14, the Monsanto Y is hosting its second annual Valentine’s Day Dinner, Dance and Silent Auction at the River City Casino in St. Louis.

“There is a three-course meal from 7:00 to 8:00 PM, free beer and wine, and an awesome concert by the Dirty Muggs from 8:00 to 11:00 PM,” said Marcus Wilson, the executive director of the Monsanto Family YMCA. “It’s all included in the price of the ticket.”

The silent auction in action.

At $65 per person or $600 per 10-person table, the tickets won’t exactly be found on a dollar menu. But that’s hardly a concern when the price of admission is going toward a good cause.

“The funds from the event go toward our Annual Campaign,” said Wilson. “This provides financial assistance to members of the community for not only memberships, but also swim lessons, summer camp, before and after school care, our LiveStrong program for cancer survivors, Diabetes Prevention Program, youth sports, fitness for seniors and much more to meet the needs of the community.”

A night full of good food, great music, dancing and a chance to walk away with some pretty cool auction items is everything you could ask for in a Valentine’s Day event. And this is the exact idea that inspired the Dinner, Dance and Silent Auction.

Auction Items

  • Two tickets to the St. Louis Symphony
  • A one-weekend stay for pets at the Kennelwood Resorts
  • Four tickets and a field pass for the St. Louis Cardinals
  • A one-year membership to the Magic House
  • An Alexa-enabled, 50-inch 4K Ultra HD TV — Toshiba Fire TV edition
  • A one-year membership to the Monsanto Family YMCA
  • Four tickets to the Missouri Botanical Garden
  • A one-year membership to the St. Louis Zoo
  • Four Field Box tickets and Champions Club passes
  • A Scout and Cellar wine tasting for 10 people
  • A one-year membership to the St. Louis Art Museum
  • A one-year membership to the History Museum
  • Two University of Missouri men’s basketball tickets
  • A one-year membership to the St. Louis Science Center
  • A $200 tab at Tiny Bar
  • A $300 certificate to landscape lighting from Just Landscape
  • Two tickets to a performance at the UMSL Touhill Performance Art Center
  • Two-night cruise to the Bahamas
  • Two tickets to the St. Louis Blues-Detroit Red Wings game

“We wanted to have a signature event that not only raised money for our Annual Campaign to strengthen our community, but also bring people together who may not have an experience with the Y yet,” said Wilson.

This signature event is highly entertaining for attendees and was received very well in its 2018 debut. “Last year was the first year that we held the Valentine’s Day Dinner and Dance, and the response was overwhelmingly positive,” shared Wilson. “It’s not your traditional gala where the audience sits through a bunch of awards being distributed.”

According to Wilson, event guests also felt they got the bang for their buck. “Attendees loved that it was a fair ticket price providing a fun time of networking, dancing and more — all for a great cause,” he said.

Since the event is open to the public, anyone in the mood for dancing, a nice dinner or a silent auction is welcome to buy a ticket. In fact, newcomers to the Monsanto Family YMCA are encouraged to take in the evening.

Attendees of the ball dance the night away.

“This event attracts people wanting to have a fun night out for Valentine’s Day, those who love good music and the Dirty Muggs, those looking to network, and stakeholders of the Y — all in one room,” said Wilson.

Bringing people together from all walks of life is what the YMCA is all about, and the Dinner, Dance and Silent Auction succeeded in doing so last year. Wilson hopes to surpass last year’s strong start and have the event become a staple of the community.

“We hope that the Valentine’s Day Dinner, Dance and Silent Auction will continue to grow and be the premier event on Valentine’s Day in St. Louis,” said Wilson. “Last year, we had 400 attendees and this year we are shooting for 500.”

The ultimate goal of the ball, however, is to raise funds and awareness for the Monsanto Family YMCA. Doing so will help empower the organization to make a difference in St. Louis. “Most importantly, the funds raised will continue to positively impact and strengthen our community and city by providing opportunities to those in need and access to a better life for all,” said Wilson.

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Bobby Dyer

Bobby is the former editor of Community Rec Magazine.

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