Charity begins at home ― or in a ballroom

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Charity begins at home ― or in a ballroom

In the four weeks since Kelly Connelly became chair of the gala and fundraising committee of the American Women’s Club (AWC), her mobile phone has been ringing off the hook. Her most important task of the year is coming up soon: the club’s largest annual event, the Holiday Charity Gala Dinner.
The black-tie event takes place at 6:30 p.m. Dec. 4 at the Grand Ballroom of the Grand Hyatt Seoul on Mount Namsan. Each year more than 400 guests attend, raising money for local charities.
Last year the event raised about 28 million won ($26,000). According to Mrs. Connelly, the club hopes to bring in 50 million won this year, but fundraising has been more of a challenge this year than in the past.
“This is a hard case. Because of the current economic situation, people are wary of spending money this year,” Mrs. Connelly said. “Also, many people think AWC is for Americans only, but that’s not true. We welcome men and women of all nationalities to come and enjoy the event while making friends and improving business relations.”
The theme this year will be “Elegance, Simplicity and Class.” “Because of the current social atmosphere, the decoration will be minimal, with candles and flowers. We’ll focus on our resources and activities, such as good food, wine and dance. Every penny saved will benefit local charities,” she said.
The event will start with a cocktail reception from 6:30 p.m to 7:30 p.m in the foyer, featuring a special Absolut Martini Bar.
In the ballroom, the festivities will continue with Piper Heidseick champagne, followed by Argentinean red and white wines. The five-course meal will feature pan-fried U.S. beef tenderloin. Remy Martin VSOP cognac will be served with dessert. Dinner music will be provided by the Ars Nova Band, a piano-based quintet.
Following dinner will be silent raffles and an auction; prizes include airline tickets with accommodations, antique furniture, luxury handbags and a bottle of Moet Chandon. “Five raffle tickets will cost 10,000 won, which means with 50,000 won worth of tickets, the chance of winning prizes will be great for everyone,” Mrs. Connelly said. “In terms of value, it is practical and attractive, as the minimum prize for a winner will be a bottle of wine.”
The cash raised will go to six local charities: Lydia House, a home for elderly blind women; Rothem School for Boys, a non-profit rehabilitation vocational school for boys from 15 to 18; Habitat for Humanity ― Women Build, a group that helps low-income families build their own homes; Doklimpmoon Chyong Sin University, a shelter and vocational training center for the homeless; Munmangal Study Room, a study room for children from low-income families in Busan; and Angel Tree Project, which cares for 84 orphans.

by Ines Cho

A ticket costs 150,000 won ($140); a 10-person table is 1,450,000 won. For gala information, contact Kelly Connelly (mobile phone 011-9273-2281, or e-mail; for ticket sales, call Tiffany Zunker (phone or fax 02-749-2830, e-mail
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