Several hundred thousand dollars were once again raised for the sole purpose of preventing and treating child abuse on Saturday night.
The 11th “Open your Heart to the Children” benefit presented by Hedge Funds Care Cayman at The Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman featured the usual glitz and glamour as Cayman’s financial services industry came out in force to support the annual event.
Event organizing committee co-chair Nick Butcher told the attendees in the filled-to-capacity Royal Ballroom that Hedge Funds Care Cayman had raised approximately US$2.5 million since it started in 2005, giving grants to 65 organizations that have programs aimed at preventing and treating child abuse in the Cayman Islands since its inception.
“We estimate in the order of 500 children benefited from the programs which, with your support, we were able to help last year.”
Mr. Butcher said Hedge Funds Care Cayman was pleased with its achievements and the developments made with Cayman’s child protection network over the past decade.
“We are pleased not only with respect to the dollar amounts raised to support the primary cause – impressive enough on its own – but in seeing how awareness of the need for, and cross agency cooperation with respect to, the prevention and treatment of child abuse and neglect has grown and improved over that time.”
He asked the event attendees to once again give to the cause.
“We marvel that year after year we come to you and ask you to give generously and you respond brilliantly,” he said. “Last year we broke all previous records in disbursing $340,000 in the community and we’d like to do even better in 2016. So my challenge to all you A-type personalities – and I know you are out there – is that is the target to beat.”
Mr. Butcher said the theme “A Midnight in Paris” had been chosen as the backdrop for the evening “in order to invoke the vibrancy, elegance and grandeur of one of Europe’s finest and oldest cities.”
Although the dress code was black tie, attendees had the option – and in fact were encouraged – to “get in the spirit and dress according to the theme,” leading to women dressed in 1920s flappers costumes and men using a splash of color in their suits.
“Of course, we had no way of anticipating the appalling events which took place a week ago last Friday,” he said. “Looking around this room tonight and with all of you here, we believe and hope we have respectfully invoked some of the best recognized of Parisian characteristics and we invite you this evening to celebrate the great city of Paris and her extraordinary contribution to the world.”
In addition to ticket sales, the event raised money through a silent auction of more than 100 items ranging from sports and entertainment memorabilia to wine and designer handbags, and through a live auction that netted more than $200,000, with some $37,500 being straight donations. The two highest priced items in the live auction included a 2016 Audi TTS, which sold for $80,000, and a Cayman catboat, which was purchased for $30,000 by Mourant Ozannes Partner Neil Lomax.
Mr. Butcher thanked all the corporate sponsors, giving special thanks to four principle sponsors – Arch Automotive, Audi, Island Companies and Pinnacle Media.
“Last year we broke all previous records in disbursing $340,000 in the community and we’d like to do even better in 2016.” Nick Butcher, event organizing committee co-chair