FORT WAYNE – Organizers of the Vera Bradley Classic couldn’t have been more pleased with the generosity of the Fort Wayne-area community in its continuing effort to raise money for the battle against breast cancer.
The 19th running of the Classic raised $1,001,145 – the third-highest total in the event’s history – all of which goes to the Vera Bradley Foundation for Breast Cancer.
“We’re absolutely thrilled,” said Catherine Hill, the foundation’s executive director. “This number and this outcome from our whole Classic weekend feels like a giant hug from the Fort Wayne community to the Vera Bradley Foundation.”
Money raised by the foundation goes to a $20 million pledge to research being conducted at the Indiana University Melvin and Bren Simon Cancer Center.
While the Classic isn’t the only fundraising event, it is the foundation’s biggest. There were two days of tennis, which drew 136 competitors, at Wildwood Racquet Club. Monday featured golf at Sycamore Hills and Fort Wayne Country Club for 428 players.
Organizers had hoped to eclipse the $1 million mark this year and were ecstatic they did, thanks to the help of about 300 volunteers.
“We do set our goals when we set our budget,” Hill said, “but we don’t really push them out there (publicly) because, historically, we exceed our goals and we want to keep doing that. When you put a number out there that you want to reach, you can get complacent.
“Every dollar counts. We want to make sure all our donors know that we are just thrilled to receive every contribution. We get calls all the time asking, ‘Is it too late for us to make a … contribution?’ Our answer is, ‘It’s never too late to make your gift. We’re battling breast cancer.’ ”
The Classic has raised more than $10 million, including a record $1,045,250 in 2007.
The foundation in its entirety has raised almost $16 million.
To learn more or contribute to the cause, go to www.verabradley.org/classic.
There will be a spin-off of the Classic on Oct. 15 at Charlotte Country Club in Charlotte, N.C., and organizers hope it goes as well as it did this summer in Fort Wayne.
“Everything went particularly well,” Hill said. “We were talking about it at lunch, how so many of our key volunteers, who have been here for many years, they help us turn it on autopilot. So many volunteers treat this as their profession and execute this perfectly. And Mother Nature executed the weather detail for us perfectly.”