Events — 01 May 2015
America Needs You Hosts Spring Party at Up&Down

Blog: America Needs You 2015 Fundraiser

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Some 400 guests dressed to the nines traveled to west side lounge Up&Down on Thursday evening to commemorate the Annual Spring Party for America Needs You’s Young Leadership Board. If the organization happens to ring a bell, you’ve likely read about the group’s yearly events on these very pages where historically, ANY has raised tens of thousands of dollars through the course of evenings just like this one, replete with cocktails, some house music and an unparalleled live auction- all affordably priced for the everyman and always in a festive setting. Thursday night’s affair would be no different for the organization, whose focus has remained unwavering on advocating for underprivileged first-generation collegiate students through a multitude of their initiatives.

The party itself kicked off in VIP fashion, welcoming guests along the black carpet and inside the posh club’s interior space. The marble top bar was abuzz from the very beginning, with the mixologists slinging out an array of refreshing drinks to the delight of the suit-and-tie clientele that was arriving. Festively, live music courtesy of Downbeat Keys set the mood early as as the band really seemed to enliven an already excited but admittedly refined room of attendees. Guests noshed on savory fare (from Dining with Grace) like “Fried Chicken Dumplings,” “Chicken Satay” and assorted “Bruschettas” and sweet desserts (from Nae Bakes) like “Mini Key Lime Pies” and “Red Velvet Cupcakes” as they grabbed their drinks and perused the available auction items up for bid.

Whether one was looking for front row tickets to a Mets game, box seats to a Jets game or even a tasteful Salvatore Ferragamo bag, there was something of interest for every guest, though candidly, the aggressive bidding around the room would drive most affordably priced items through the roof in a hurry. Shortly after 9pm, much of the crowd huddled for some inspiring words about the organization that they had contributed towards and to celebrate the successful efforts of America Needs You. With 94% of their students gaining internships and a staggering 96% graduating from college, the nonprofit is making some incredible strides with its young constituents- the first generation college students that need guidance and mentoring most.

Following the brief remarks, it was time for the ties to loosen up as the lounge’s downstairs area transformed from lavish cocktail hour to an all out dance party. The dark lighting and plush seating (aided of course by some hip-hop) set the tone immediately, allowing a relatively quiet after work happy hour to become a Saturday night-style club scene- all in good fun of course. It was a celebration after all, a successfully run (and entirely fun) fundraiser that both expands the awareness around America Needs You and helps to allow the hard working staff to kick back and finally enjoy the fruits of their labor. In all, the evening raised thousands upon thousands of dollars for their cause- be it toward their intensive Fellows Program for low-income students, plotting success with College Connections or running seminars for ANY’s Career Development Program- each of which is giving these underserved youths an opportunity at success that they would not have otherwise been offered.

Take some time to see the great work being done locally by America Needs You at their website and find out how you can help further their cause.

- Alexandra Fetsey

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