After the After Party

About 350 of the Saturday awards banquet attendees moved from the ballroom to the Georgian room for a taste of Vegas, the site of next year's conference. We had gaming tables (real money next year) and the After Party Lounge (with a great singer, Mary Callanan, above). Raffle prizes were numerous and a few of them premium (including an iPhone, touch iPod, Vegas trips). Much fun was had. It was a sweet end to a terrific workshop.

This was part two of the Foundation's fund raising efforts for the weekend. The silent auction had closed about eight hours earlier and, unofficially, had brought in about $15,000. Thanks to the great sponsors of the After Party (The Globe and Mail, National Post, The Toronto Star, MG Redesign, USA Today, C. Marshall Matlock, Orlando Sentinel, The Dallas Morning News, The Las Vegas Sun, Chicago Tribune and Denise M. Reagan) most of the cover charge went directly to Foundation coffers. We expect to net about $5,000 from the event for a weekend total of $20,000.

These are big numbers. And timely numbers too. Just earlier that afternoon, the Foundation board of trustees approved two new scholarships -- one for $5,000 per year and one for $2,000 per year. We also agreed to expand the travel grant program to the annual workshop.

We will be announcing the details of those scholarships and other Foundation initiatives in the next few weeks.

Many thanks to everyone who participated in the Silent Auction and the After Party. And more importantly, thanks to everyone who donated items for the auction and raffles. My biggest heroes of the weekend were auction coordinators Catie Aldrich and Jane Martin of the Globe as well as the paper itself -- some of the best prizes came from the Globe store.

The winners from all of this are the student and diversity programs that are funded by your generosity.

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