A very chilly, snowy night did not stop Lyons locals from coming out to support home-grown philanthropy. The Lyons Community Foundation’s annual gala upheld the tradition of being one of the best local events of the year. Lyons-ites came out in force in their finest “Lyons formal” attire to eat, drink, dance and give.
The evening’s experience began with a silent auction featuring over 30 one of a kind items available for bidders. Enthusiastic patrons left with event tickets and certificates for local services and restaurants. The menu, provided by A Spice of Life Catering had a decidedly New Orleans twist, featuring okra tempura, a vegan jambalaya and a stuffed smoked pork entrée.
The main presentation of the evening featured testimonies from several of the 2015 grantees. Over $42,000 in Community Support Grants were recently awarded to nineteen different projects. Betsy Hubner, member of the Lyons Arts and Humanities Commission (LAHC) spoke about the value of supporting local arts. LCF awarded LAHC a $4500 grant that will fund the Lyons Art Walk as well as arts-centric education, public installations and special events. The Lyons Film Festival and the Clarifier Community Art Project are also 2015 LCF grantees. Lyons is experiencing a renaissance in locally created art of all kinds that not only enriches the town but generates significant economic return.
Mary Chase, chair of the Town of Lyons (TOL) Parks, Recreation and Cultural Events commission reminded guests that programs such as the Holiday Parade and Fireworks, Sandstone Summer Concert series, Good Old Days and senior/youth enrichment programming would likely not occur without LCF support. With all the work that Parks and Recreation has going on to rebuild our public parks and recreational spaces, the grants make it possible for these beloved traditions to continue. Landscape beautification on Main Street and local ecology projects are other examples of funded work.
Tanya Daty, chair of the Lyons Emergency Assistance Fund (LEAF) gave testimony to the incredible support LEAF has received that allows their critical work with Lyons most needy to continue. LCF recently awarded a $15,000 grant towards the purchase of a vehicle used for the food pantry and community transportation needs.
The live auction and ‘paddle raising’ portion of the evening is what really opened attendees wallets. Bidding guests walked away with not one, but two African Safari excursions, two trips to the Marriott in Vail, a private flight tour of Lyons by local pilot Mike Whipp, and the coveted gourmet dinner by Sue and Steve Wratten. Final numbers are not yet available, but the money raised will be a great launch towards funding next year’s Community Support Grants.
Things really got going with the highlight of the night’s live entertainment with the band Cadillac Grip, featuring Lyons own Steve Beck. While crowds had dwindled due to the snow storm, those who stayed were treated to a great show. The band features its own high-energy interpretations of New Orleans style funk.
LCF would like to thank all those who worked so hard on the gala. Truly a community-wide effort, event chairs Holly Beck and Pam Browning led the charge. Locally owned businesses sponsoring the evening including Lionscrest Manor, A Spice of Life Catering, Oskar Blues, Spirit Hound Distillers, HiKu Graphics, and Woodsongs Lutherie made the entire event possible allowing LCF to raise critical funds.
All the projects supported by LCF are led by resident volunteers working hard to make the greater Lyons area a better place to live and visit. Notably, the foundation also funded over $95,000 in Flood Recovery work in 2015 and $7000 in college scholarships for Lyons area students. If you missed the gala and would like to contribute to LCF’s mission of supporting community based philanthropy or to find out more about our 2015 grantees, please visit www.lyonscf.org.