Nearly 500 “Helping Hands” join to support children in Lincoln at annual United Way event

March 6, 2017  //  Women in Philanthropy

Wine bottles wrapped in rhinestones, desserts designed to tease the most determined dieter and bling by the basketful were on display to tempt those who attended United Way’s Women in Philanthropy 10th Annual Helping Hands Auction held at the Cornhusker Marriott Hotel on Jan. 26.

Dozens of baskets loaded with silent auction items and a robust selection of unique live auction items, created a festive shopping atmosphere. But, it was the mission of the auction that attracted Karen Miller and Martha Florence, longtime friends who look forward to the event each year and who like what the event stands for. “It’s a material way to give back to United Way for the work they do,” Miller said. “I love the beauty and diversity of women who attend.”

Nancy Biggs, chair of the original auction in 2007, took a moment to reflect on the past. “It was quite the intimate affair with about 50 in attendance,” she laughed. This year’s version drew nearly 500 with a goal to raise $37,000. Biggs also stepped to the podium to lead a toast in honor of the 10th anniversary.
Proceeds from the event will purchase diapers and warm winter clothing for children, said Natalia Wiita who chaired a task force of 35 volunteers and staff that produced the auction. In addition, a portion of the proceeds benefits the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America’s Camp Oasis Program, a five-night summer camp for kids with the disease.

The event contributes to the United Way/Community Health Charities campaign to raise funds to support human services organizations that address the most critical areas of need in Lincoln and Lancaster County, said Brian Wachman, executive director. The campaign wraps up March 31.

Carol Jess, CJJ Communications