Annual fundraiser will take place Feb. 27

With a goal of $500,000, Shamrauction will be virtual

Last+year%E2%80%99s+Fund-a-Need+at+the+annual+Shamrauction%2C+which+took+place+in+the+Welch+Activity+Center%2C+was+to+address+food+insecurity+among+families+on+the+Hill.+This+year%E2%80%99s+event%2C+because+of+Covid-19%2C+will+be+virtual.

Photo submitted

Last year’s Fund-a-Need at the annual Shamrauction, which took place in the Welch Activity Center, was to address food insecurity among families on the Hill. This year’s event, because of Covid-19, will be virtual.

Tory Basile, Reporter

Shamrauction, the school’s leading annual fundraiser, is one of several traditions on the Hill that has been subject to alteration in the face of the Covid-19 pandemic.

This year, the entire event will take place virtually as opposed to being celebrated in the Welch Activity Center as has been the case in years past. Senior Director of Advancement Mrs. Michelle Rhodes Taylor ‘01 detailed her plans to preserve safety while still raising money to promote general revenue at school, specifically need-based financial aid for students. 

According to Taylor, a live Shamrauction program will begin virtually on Feb. 27 at 6:30 p.m. Taylor said that the event will be streamed entirely through a virtual auction link the and advancement office will send emails and texts to potential participants encouraging them to register for the online auction, where they will log in on Feb. 27. 

Typically, the advancement office relies in part on ticket sales from the in-person event to meet their desired goal of $500,000. This year, because ticket sales aren’t feasible, Taylor said, “We of course would encourage all Cathedral supporters to consider a donation of $250, which is the normal cost of a ticket, but if they’d like to have some at-home Cathedral swag to pretend that they’re at the in-person event that we normally have, we’ve got options ranging from packages of $500 all the way up to $25,000 – that includes a full dinner for 10 by a private chef.” 

Furthermore, each year the school hosts a specific portion of the auction called Fund-a-Need, in which money is raised for a specific project on campus. Taylor said, “This year with Covid, we had 50 families that requested additional need-based aid support.” The school was able to raise $127,000 for these families, and hopes that Shamrauction can alleviate some of this financial burden on the school and aid future requests. 

About the Fund-a-Need, Taylor wrote in a follow-up email, “We are hoping to raise the $127,000 that was extended to our families through emergency Covid relief. These weren’t budgeted funds, which is why it’s been chosen as the Fund-A-Need this year.”

Taylor then joked that advancement is what she called “leaning into the chaos of campus,” saying that this year’s event theme will be “Hardhats and High Heels,” a combination of formal attire and construction-themed neon colors. Some items being auctioned this year include two weeks of professional puppy training, dinner for 20 at a restaurant and a week long stay in Hilton Head, South Carolina. 

We of course would encourage all Cathedral supporters to consider a donation of $250.”

— Mrs. Michelle Taylor '01

Because the event will be virtual, Taylor noted, “There are lots of ways to engage and participate,” including sharing information from the school’s social media, bidding in the auction, donating an item or experience, sponsoring or advertising by local businesses or participating in a cash raffle. Raffle tickets are $100 each. If students sell raffle tickets, “they can denote $20 out of that ticket to go toward the sport or club of their choice,” Taylor said. 

“I hope that we’ll be able to have even more people tuning in because we are virtual and because we do want people to engage, that’s kind of why we’re not doing it so that you have to purchase a ticket to have access to the link,” Taylor said.

She added, “We want to be as inclusive as possible, because whether you’re making a donation of $20 just because you love Cathedral or if you’re bidding on a trip of a lifetime, we still want you to be engaged. Normally we have about 700 (people) in the room that night, and in the online auction we have at least 1,500 unique bidders, so I’d love to see that number double and triple as people share the link.” 

Taylor thanked all of the Shamrauction supporters, saying, “It’s amazing to see the Cathedral community come together to support the school and our students. We’re so blessed to have such generous parents, alumni and friends of the school that continue to give back even in these uncertain times. So we just thank everybody for prayerfully considering a donation back to the school, whatever that looks like for them and their family, we so appreciate it.”