Risk and Reward: Houston Results Fundraiser A Success!

June 1, 2010
by Cory Valdez

The information fell into our laps just months before the event — Nobel Prize winner Dr. Muhammad Yunus was coming to Houston. The Houston RESULTS chapter had a fundraiser just last fall. Would there be enough backing for another fundraiser in the summer or would we be haunted by do-gooder fatigue? Houston, we have a problem! Taking a risk, our fearless team took the leap.

Divide and conquer! The lines were loaded with conference calls, 3-way calls, e-mail trails, and meetings. We mulled over invitations and media releases and sponsorship letters. Our venue decision, the Houston Junior League, is well-known for excellent food, service, and ambiance, a hefty reputation that could almost match that of our speaker, Dr. Yunus.

Next wave — invite! We dispersed our 700 invitations to the wind and utilized e-mail, Yahoo Groups, community papers, flyers, friends, and radio to announce our event.  Everyone had a different tactic to getting some one through that door.

An optimistic anxiety blanketed the team when event night arrived. Volunteers near and far converged to set up for an amazing showing of almost 400 people. Expecting to rest after set-up, a heavy rain actually pushed people in 30 minutes before starting time. Wait, was it the rain or did our guests know this was going to be a good party?

Dr. Yunus arrived earlier than expected and we had celebrity energy in the room. People filed into the reception, the Tea Room was packed, and everyone was having a good time. The chimes reeled us in to begin our dinner as the Junior League took care of the hungry.

Patti Gras of Houston PBS emceed the event and introduced the line-up: RESULTS Executive Director Joanne Carter, filmmaker Gayle Ferraro, Dr. Yunus, and Houston group leader David Schubert. We were fortunate to show a clip of the not-yet-released film “To Catch a Dollar: Muhammad Yunus Banks on America,” which documents the opening of the first Grameen Bank in the U.S. (watch the trailer at www.tocatchadollar.com). Dr. Yunus then gave an amazing talk that rendered the room of 400 people completely quiet as they digested his every word. He energized us with hope and taught us about poverty. A standing ovation followed.

But wait, what a gift RESULTS gave everyone this night. We asked for something in return. Our Houston leader, our rock, inspired everyone to give. David Schubert told the story of his journey to RESULTS and described a picture of starvation that he first saw 46 years ago, an unforgettable picture for him, and now 400 other people. Thank you RESULTS.

A huge thank you to the RESULTS groups that held fundraisers this spring: Bremerton, WA, Chicago, Denver, Houston, and Seattle. Your tremendous efforts make RESULTS and RESULTS Educational Fund’s work possible.

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