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AZ Insider: Weekend Fundraisers Embrace Hollywood Themes

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Kathy Shayna Shocket has the inside scoop on Arizona's social scene. sh dancers

 What's at the core of a successful fundraiser? Along with these dancers at the Scottsdale Honor Ball.. it was the community's entrepreneurs and supporters of the charity.

The weekend of the Oscars, there were three major fundraising galas in the Phoenix area which embraced a show biz type theme. Scottsdale Healthcare Foundation and the Arizona Kidney Foundation both incorporated the Dancing with the Stars theme into their events, and the Arthritis Foundation invited guests to an Oscar Experience. 

Each of the pricey fancy fetes motivated great attendance.  So, does a Hollywood inspired theme help in producing a hit fundaiser?  Yes, if the event has a strong volunteer event committee and an equally as strong relationship with the designated charity’s supporters.

A case in point was the Scottsdale Honor Ball. The ballroom of the Phoenician swelled with Arizona’s most influential entrepreneurs, philanthropists and community leaders. It was a formal eveining of mostly dancing. (Pictured above the professionals showed guests how to glide across the dance floor.)

There’s no auction or raffle or superstar entertainment. Yet it typically attracts a full attendance of 800 guests with ticket prices starting at $750 per person and up to $50,000 for a premier sponsor table of ten people.  At the core of the event’s success is the gala’s  popular reputation and loyalty and passion for its beneficiary, the Virginia G. Piper Cancer Center at Scottsdale Healthcare.  

nancy

 (Nancy Harris Heltne, who owns an interior design company, chaired the Scottsdale Honor Ball.)

At this year’s annual black tie soiree to benefit the Virginia G. Piper Cancer Center, guests were welcomed into the ballroom by a pair of professional ball room dancers gliding across the seamless white dance floor, “Dancing with the Stars” style. “We wanted to create the feeling of old Hollywood, a Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers type feeling,”notes Nancy Harris Heltne who owns a Scottsdale interior design company and chaired the gala.

scottsdale honor ball guests

(The Jacqueline Foster Orchestra entertains the crowd of entrepreneurs, philanthropists and community leaders.)

Nancy points out that the Scottsdale Honor Ball has a hard working volunteer committee and that this 36-year old tradition has raised over $10 million for patient and community based programs. 

robert-duffy

(Robert J. Duffy was honored.)

The dynamic Jacqueline Foster Orchestra performed and retired business communications executive Robert J. Duffy was honored. Congratulations!

 kathy-shayna-shocket

 Kathy Shayna Shocket is a freelance Reporter, Photographer and TV -Field Producer based in PhoenixShe's written and reported for prestigious publications such as TIME magazine, PEOPLE magazine,  MONEY magazine, the Hollywood Reporter and the New York Times. You can reach her at  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it