First virtual fundraiser a huge success

Every spring, Arcadia High School’s PTO holds a fundraising gala. This year, however, PTO co-president Tricia Longnecker decided to try something different – an Un-Gala.

“In the spring, there’s always so much going on with families and graduates and everything else,” Longnecker said. “In the beginning of this year’s school year, I decided ‘why don’t we try something online?’”

Longnecker explained that because families tend to be busy during the springtime, it was hard for people to make it to the event. She said that the online fundraiser worked to their advantage, seeing as everyone has been stuck inside on their laptops for the past couple of months. 

“I was more nervous because of the economy and the unknowns. We didn’t know if people would actually bet on items or not,” Longnecker said.

The issue came down to having to reschedule an event at the country club – and the committee was worried about asking for funds during the pandemic.

“We were scared, but I think people felt joy in doing something. People loved it and we had a great turnout,” Longnecker said. 

The fundraiser happened over two days at the end of April. Local businesses and sponsors offered date packages, gift certificates, lessons, jewelry, photography sessions and more.

Once the donated items were available, people could go online, bid and re-bid for each item. Gift baskets were put together by the PTO and folks could pick up the baskets through safe social distancing protocols. 

One hundred percent of the funds made goes to the teachers, staff, security and school for general projects, such as new benches, trashcans and cots and supplies for the nurses’ office. One of the biggest ticket items was the reserved parking spots. Altogether, the fundraiser brought in over $61,000, with more than 170 people bidding. 

“We were shocked. We are so grateful, and it just showed what a tight Arcadia community we have and the support we have for our school and our teachers is just absolutely amazing,” Longnecker said. “Our teachers are overwhelmed. It’s just wonderful.”