Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Mass & MetroWest (BBBS) found themselves three weeks away from their largest fundraiser of the year, The Big Celebration, when everything came to a halt due to Covid-19. The Mayor of Marlborough, Arthur G. Vigeant, alongside Bob’s Discount Furniture’s Executive Chairman, Ted English, both committed to being Honorary Chairs of the event. The decision was soon made to postpone the event that was scheduled for April 4, 2020. The BBBS staff and event committee pivoted and began planning for their first-ever, virtual event, The Big Night In which was held on October 29, 2020.
Unsure what to expect, the team at BBBS re-evaluated their event budget and goals before forging ahead. The team worked closely with an event planning company out of Newburyport, Massachusetts called Ember and a skilled audio-visual team at Blackstone Productions located in Uxbridge, Massachusetts.
“Everyone has had to learn how to work differently. Whether you are a teacher and learned how to work remote, a store owner who had to find a new way to reach consumers, or an event planner in a world where events do not exist – we are all adapting to make the best out of a situation. Working with the team at Ember and Blackstone Productions on The Big Night In provided our agency with a new capacity which ensured that we offered the best possible virtual event experience for our supporters,” said Lindsay McCarthy, Marketing and Special Events Manager at BBBS.
The Big Night In featured an online auction and a live-streamed event which was broadcasted from the AC Hotel in downtown Worcester on October 29th. During the event, former WCVB news reporter, Susan Wornick, announced that BBBS of Central Mass & MetroWest was 1 of 15 Big Brothers Big Sisters agencies from across the nation selected to receive a $50,000 matching gift from the Stavros Niarchos Foundation. BBBS used this donation to drive donations during the event and will continue raising funds which will be matched by the Stavros Niarchos Foundation, up to $50,000 throughout the giving season.
“We are so thankful and gratified by the support of our entire network during this challenging year,” said Jeffrey Chin, CEO for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Mass & MetroWest. “Our supporters, and especially our staff and legions of volunteers, have shown how much of an impact we can have when we adapt and continue to provide mentoring to children facing social isolation and uncertain conditions.”
The event can be viewed at www.youtube.com/bbbscmmw. Thanks to sponsorships, auction sales, and donations, BBBS of Central Mass & MetroWest raised over $130,000. Top sponsors were The Hanover Insurance Group, TJX Companies, Bob’s Discount Furniture, and Avidia Bank.