PINELLAS COUNTY, Fla. (Mar 17, 2021) –Hope Villages of America, formerly RCS Pinellas (HVA), has thrown one of Pinellas County’s most highly anticipated charity galas for a decade: The upbeat and upscale Blue Jean Ball gave attendees the chance to dance the night away in their trendiest denim while supporting homelessness prevention and housing stability.
In the ear of the COVID-19 global pandemic, though, the 11th Annual Blue Jean Ball took a brand-new form! Thanks to innovative committee members and pioneering sponsors and donors, the February 2021 event was reimagined from an in-person dinner with live music, dancing and a silent auction to a weeklong virtual event (February 23-28) featuring a silent auction and a powerful video keynote from HVA President and CEO Kirk Ray Smith.
Smith’s video keynote outlined what Hope Villages has accomplished amid the global pandemic and the nonprofit’s bold, new plans for providing help and hope in our new normal. The Blue Jean Ball co-chairs and a former Grace House guest also contributed to this moving message. The video can be found at hopevillagesofamerica.org/blue-jean-ball.
“2020 and 2021 have brought us many ‘firsts,’” Smith said. “First virtual events, first silent auctions, first video keynotes. I’m so proud of the way our staff, event committee members and silent auction sponsors stepped up to make this happen! And I’m thrilled with the outcome: thanks to our donors and sponsors, the 2021 Blue Jean Ball raised more than $74,528.”
The funds will be used to help the hundreds of homeless families Hope Villages serves each year by providing a spectrum of housing stability services that meet Pinellas County residents at their moment of need. “The Haven provides emergency shelter for domestic violence survivors—and a new start in life. Grace House provides 80—or one-half—of the family shelter beds in the County,” Smith explained, “and provides dignified apartment-style emergency shelter to homeless families with children for up to two months. Goldsmith Gardens offers an affordable housing option to our participants as a ‘next step’ in their journey to self-sufficiency. None of these programs would be here without the support of those who live here and give here through events like the Blue Jean Ball.”
The 2021 Blue Jean Ball was proudly presented by sponsors Siracusa Staffing & Leasing, BIZCO, Pinch-a-Penny and Solace Insurance; other philanthropically focused community members joined the cause, including Teddi McCune and Chris and Christine Ruppel.
A sampling of the 50-plus highly desirable items that were auctioned off include a one-night stay at the Don Cesar in a luxury suite; dinner at Sekushi at the Plaza, coming soon to Belleair; private sailing lessons for two; autographed Lightning and Buccaneers gear; a two-night stay at the Sheraton Sand Key Resort; a Yeti cooler filled with craft beer and a VIP Brew Party for up to 26 at 3 Daughters Brewing.
About Hope Villages of America: Formerly RCS Pinellas (RCS), the organization established in 1967, is a registered 501(c)(3) organization that addresses the needs of the hungry, homeless and victims of domestic violence in Pinellas County. This mission is advanced through three distinct but integrated programs: Food Distribution & Basic Needs, Homeless Prevention Project & Housing Stability and Abuse Services. These programs operate in more than 60,000 square feet of service space and serve more than 130,000 participants annually throughout Pinellas County. In 2019 the nonprofit was awarded GuideStar’s Gold Seal of Transparency for the second year in a row and the Tampa Bay Beaches Chamber of Commerce Biggest Community Impact award. For more information, visit hopevillagesofamerica.org or call 727-584-3528.