Strongly supported once again by members of the RV industry, the 18th Annual “Bids for Kids” Charity Auction & Dinner, held Saturday evening (May 5) at the RV/MH Hall of Fame’s Northern Indiana Event Center in Elkhart, Ind., raised about $1.5 million for the Goshen location of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Elkhart County.
The auction has become a philanthropic favorite for many in the RV industry, particularly Jason Lippert, president and CEO of Lippert Components Inc. (LCI), who became involved some 10 years ago and essentially hosts the affair. In fact, Lippert was recognized for his decade of support with a special video presentation during the event.
“We are overwhelmed and humbled by the outpouring of support from the RV industry,” said Michilah Grimes, LCI’s director of philanthropic partnerships and acts of service, who co-chaired the auction with Lippert.
Nearly 700 people attended the gathering, which received support from 126 major sponsors and featured about 100 silent auction and 52 live auction items. The event also offered 18 major auction items including Notre Dame season tickets, Taylor Swift concert tickets, an Explore Italy package, a “choose your sailing destination” Dream Adventure, and a South African safari trip.
Of note was a VIP Kentucky Derby package and private jet for next year’s race that was auctioned off. This year’s auction took place the same day as the running of the Kentucky Derby, while next year’s event is scheduled for April 27 so as not to interfere with the legendary horse race.
“We had a lot of the leaders from the different companies in our area, but then also we had leaders of suppliers all the way from China attend the event just to support our community,” Grimes said. “With what we’re trying to do here, their support is overwhelming. I mean there’s no other way to say it except that we appreciate everyone’s support in helping to change the lives of thousands of kids.”
In thanking the efforts of the 60 volunteers at the auction, Grimes added that the video tribute for Lippert was especially moving as it showed participants in the Boys & Girls Club during each of his 10 years of involvement, and how they were able to better themselves because of the organization.
“They talked about what they’ve been able to accomplish because of his leadership, because of his support and donors like him supporting the club. When it was done, 700 people stood up and applauded and were thanking him for his leadership of shaping our future generation,” she told RVBUSINESS.com.
Matthew Fischer, MBA, director of development and special events for the Boys & Girls Clubs of Elkhart County, said the organization is extremely thankful for the “generosity of our community and the value put on inspiring our future generations.”
“It’s astounding,” he continued. “Without the passion of so many dedicated advocates, the club would not be able to teach, empower and surround these youth with positive mentorship.”