The Cat’s Meow: Hartford Young Professionals Doing Some Good

One of my biggest complaints about Hartford is the lack of philanthropy among young professionals (YP = ages 25-40). In many similar sized cities, you see some incredibly successful young professional events raising hundreds of thousands of dollars, but I haven’t seen too much success in Hartford. That could all be changing, though.

Having worked for more than one non-profit and having attempted to organize more than one YP event, I know what the challenges are. Many of us aren’t equipped to fundraise because no one ever made us do it, or we don’t see it as our responsibility. We aren’t all in financial positions yet to have piles of expendable income, so we may not think of giving as a requirement.

I am in no way knocking events raising a few thousand dollars because I do know there are many of those around– Lord knows every little bit helps. But even before the economic downturn, we didn’t hear of a wildly successful young professional wine tastings, or pub crawls, or beer gardens like you do in other cities similar to Hartford…like DeMoines. No, seriously.

At all of the organizations I’ve worked at, we’ve racked our brains to try to figure out how to get a strong group of young professionals off their asses and motivated to take on a big project, but haven’t quite seen success yet. Nor have I seen evidence of other non-profits seeing that big success either. I started wondering if YPs in Hartford only a) go to to the bars all ho-ed out or b) sit at home playing WoW.

I’m starting to feel some hope, though!

St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital’s Young Professionals arm, “Hartford Friends of St. Jude” is putting on quite the event. Comprised of Hartford yuppies, this group is dedicated to raising funds to fight childhood cancer.

On May 30, at 8 p.m., they will be holding The Cat’s Meow, a 1920’s themed soiree in Union Station. With tickets at $75 a piece, or $130 a pair, it might be more expensive than your typical night out, but it includes food from Hot Tomato’s…not to mention your drinks, including beer from Harpoon, and you are supporting an incredibly worthwhile cause. When you think about it that way, it’s a pretty good deal.

What I like about this event, is not only its creative theme (adios prohibition!), but having done special event fundraisers for five years, they took into account the fact that many YPs don’t know the protocol for an event like this. They set up a“Fundraising Events for Dummies” page (they’re nicer than I am and call is FAQ’s) going over a lot of things like how the Silent Auction works, etc. (ie: you are expected to pay that night).  So if you’ve ever been intimidated about going to a fundraising soiree or gala, that excuse is gone! (For regular philanthropists, the page also addresses where to park, attire, and more to make the event experience as smooth as possible.)

So, Hartford YPs, prove me wrong. Prove to me that the majority of us aren’t lazy drunks who don’t care about helping others. Help make this event one of those big-bang, lots-of-money-raising shindigs that Hartford should be having, but hasn’t…yet!

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