The Rich Center for Autism is one week away from what has become its largest annual fundraiser. The events purpose: to raise money to support The Rich Center, its students, and the autism community, according to a press release.
The event known as Rock The Rich Center is shaping up to be as good as ever and has already seen an outpouring of support from some names you might expect, and some that’ll surprise you. The event that takes place at Mr. Anthony’s Banquet Center on January 27th will showcase a live performance by what is arguably Youngstown’s most popular band, The Vindys.
The release went on to say, “We are absolutely thrilled to have The Vindys back again this year,” said Jake Ellis, Community Engagement and Event Coordinator for The Rich Center. “To have a band this successful, from Youngstown, willing to help us put on our best fundraiser of the year, a rock ‘n’ roll show, it’s a perfect fit.”
The Vindys might be the headliner of Rock The Rich Center, but there’s another spectacle that is taking place the same night. “Some of the items we have in our silent auction just blow my mind,” Ellis said. “It’s just hard to believe that so many high- profile people, rock stars, athletes, actors, have actually donated items for our auction. It’s nothing short of amazing.”
One look at the spread of auction items makes it apparent there’s no shortage of star-power present. A Travis Kelce autographed Chiefs jersey, Micky Dolenz (The Monkees) signed drum head, Bernie Kosar signed Browns helmet, Taylor Swift autographed CD, and even a chance to party with professional golfer John Daly, are some of the many items up for bid. Aside from autographed memorabilia, other items include designer handbags, jewelry, clothing, home goods, cigars and bourbons.
“One of my favorite items is the Louis Vuitton key pouch,” Ellis said. “It comes with a mystery cash prize inside. Only the winning bidder will find out just how much cash is in there, but I can tell you it’s over $500.”
Although ticket sales to attend the event are almost closed, the online features will remain accessible to anyone who wants to participate. By going to www.rocktherichcenter.com and creating a free account, those participating virtually will have full access to the silent auction and can place bids, they will also have access to purchasing cash raffle tickets (grand prize $2,500), 50/50 tickets, or the ability to make a general donation to The Friends of The Rich Center.
“No mater who you are, or where you’re located, you can participate and help us make this the best Rock The Rich Center ever,” Ellis said. “And if you miss out on the Louis Vuitton, or the Kate Spade purse, or the signed “Boom Boom” Mancini poster, you can still end the night with a positive feeling by putting that money toward an online donation.”
Ellis also notes that although it’s great to see the support growing and The Rich Center being recognized more widely, Rock The Rich Center wouldn’t be what it is without the local Youngstown community building it up. “Our biggest supporters come from right here in Youngstown and the surrounding communities,” he said. “Everyone who bought in at a sponsorship level, everyone who purchased a ticket, made a basket for the raffle, donated their money, time, energy, and expertise to make this what it is, that’s how we got here.” Some of the top sponsors can be seen listed on the event website. All are from the immediate area. The event’s emcee, WKBN evening news anchor, Lindsey Watson, will be joining for the second consecutive year.