Inspired by the novel “The Great Gatsby,” Duchesne Academy's annual auction and dinner Jan. 25, “The Great Conge,” raised more than $400,000 for the school and scholarships.
Guests were greeted at the entrance of the Embassy Suites La Vista with the sight of a buttercup yellow 1930 Cadillac convertible. Inside, the ballroom was transformed into a scene reminiscent of a Jay Gatsby party, full of glitz and glamour. Nearly 400 joined in the fun, wearing flapper-style attire.
Cascading crystal chandeliers and giant pearl white balloons hung from the ceiling. On stage was a life-size window façade replicating the Gatsby mansion, created by Jeanette and Wes Nelson. A three-piece jazz band led by Matt Amandus added to the period ambience as 150 student volunteers, bedecked with sequined flapper head pieces, greeted guests and assisted with the silent auction. A video program had the theme Duchesne Academy “then and now” with photographs from the 1920s. Dr. Kevin O'Malley was emcee.
Guests dined on deconstructed Cobb salad with blue cheese, bacon and diced tomato with blue cheese and balsamic vinaigrette, sliced flatiron steak with a balsamic reduction paired with crab cakes, Anna potatoes and asparagus with red peppers. A Sacred Heart lemon cake made by Duchesne parent Jacqui Caniglia topped the meal.
Sheila Haggas, Duchesne head of school, said the fundraiser reflects the more progressive thinking of the 1920s and the growing independence of women. “I believe our theme this year captures the progressive spirit that has always been part of Sacred Heart education,” she said, “as well as continuing the commitment to educate young women in character, conscience and deep intellectual values that we celebrate today.”
Coveted oral auction items included trips to New York and Palm Springs, front row seating to the school's graduation ceremonies and Justin Timberlake concert tickets. Duchesne parents Diane and Jon Fulcher, Colleen and Mitch Johnson, and Kathy and Jeff Neary served as co-chairmen for the event.
The Conge 2015 co-chairmen were announced: Duchesne parents Theresa and Rollie Johns, Brenda and David Langenberg, and Jennifer and Jerry Woodward.
Duchesne Academy is an independent college-preparatory high school for girls grades nine to 12. For more information, contact 402-558-3800 or visit www.duchesneacademy.org.
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Midlands Community Foundation held its 2014 Reflection Ball at the Embassy Suites La Vista on Jan. 18. Honorary chairmen were Dr. Guy and Toni Schropp. Serving as event chairwoman was Jill Govier.
More than 300 guests attended, and nearly $100,000 was raised. Proceeds will go to Angels Among Us, a nonprofit organization whose mission is to financially assist families who have a child with cancer living or being treated in Nebraska.
The Reflection Award, presented at the ball, honors individuals who have significantly contributed to Sarpy and Cass Counties and to the mission of the foundation. This year's recipients were Dr. Chuck and Donna Wilcox, both Nebraska natives and graduates of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.
The mission of Midlands Community Foundation is to benefit the diverse needs of the Sarpy and Cass County communities by providing financial support, involvement and service.
For more information, visit MidlandsCommunity.org or call 402-991-8027.
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Newly installed officers and board members of the Women's Fund of Omaha participated in their first meeting Jan. 16.
Officers announced for 2014-2015 are: Cheri Duryea, president; Renee Black, vice president; Patty Keairnes, treasurer; and Lorraine Chang, secretary.
Four new members were elected to three-year terms: Renaisa Anthony, Andrea Gansen, Melanie Morrissey Clark and Jo Ann Quinif. Liaisons to the board are Debbie Fraser, legacy liaison; and Danielle Crough and Julie Luzarraga, circles liaisons.
Duryea said in a statement that the fund would “continue to focus our efforts on domestic violence, economic self-sufficiency and leadership, while also researching new issues facing younger generations.”
The Women's Fund Circles program, established in 2011, was designed to introduce local young women to the mission of the Women's Fund. It also provides opportunities to network with established professional women and learn about philanthropy, leadership and issues affecting women and girls in the community. Circle members are selected for three-year terms based on community involvement, contributions in the workplace and their vision for young women in Omaha.
Twenty new members were selected for the 2014 class of Women's Fund Circles, joining 42 current members. A new member orientation was held Jan. 8. Members of the 2014 Circles Steering Committee are Crough and Luzarraga, chairwomen; and Moniki Cannon, Adrienne Fay, Wendy Hamilton, Sarah Kaczmarek and Anne Meysenburg.
Women's Fund activities for the year include the annual fundraiser, the Fall Luncheon, which will be held Oct. 23. In addition, a workshop series, entitled Ready to Run, began Friday. It is a nonpartisan program designed for women who wish to run for office, work on campaigns or learn more about the political system.
The Women's Fund of Omaha is a nonprofit dedicated to improving the lives of Omaha-area women and girls. For more information visit omahawomens fund.org or call 402-827-9280.
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“One child, one teacher, one book, one pen can change the world.”
— Malala Yousafzai
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ON THE CALENDAR:
First Friday fundraiser, Artists' Cooperative Gallery, www.artistscoopomaha.com.
Rosie Rocks the Roaring '20s, Omaha Theater Company, Hilton Omaha, email@example.com, 402-354-4849.
Carnival of Love Gala, Heartland Family Service, Embassy Suites La Vista, firstname.lastname@example.org, 402-552-7424.
Fandango on the Fairway, Lutheran Family Services, Indian Creek Golf Course, 402-661-3138 or lfsneb.org.
17th annual Promise Gala — That's Amore!, Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, email@example.com or 402-397-CURE.