Pictured: Cashbah co-chairs Traci Ragsdale (left) and Laura Lally with SLUH President David Laughlin. Photo by Sulli Wallisch '19.
Story by Sam Ortmann '18 and Jake Hennes '18
St. Louis U. High has won the Triple Crown with Cashbah 2017, grossing more than $1,000,000 for the third year in a row. This year's Cashbah theme was Oakland Downs, a theme chosen by a committee co-chaired by Traci Ragsdale and Laura Lally. Around 700 guests attended the event on Saturday, April 8 in the Si Commons.
"Cashbah is successful thanks to the SLUH community," said Director of Advancement Melissa Jones. "It is really a team effort that we wouldn't be able to complete without all of the help from our volunteers."
Jones said that the net profit is not known yet, as more gifts will continue coming in throughout the spring months.
Usually around one-third of the gross profit of Cashbah goes to the Fund-A-Need program, which helps students afford and attend SLUH.
"Cashbah is our premier fundraising event for student scholarships," said Jones.
As funds started to roll in, SLUH dimmed the lights and took a break from the live auction, instead asking people to donate. They played the Fund-A-Need video in which senior Edward Gartner and juniors Delton Utsey and Teddy Washington talked about their experiences at SLUH.
"While I appreciate the donations that they give to SLUH that allow me to be here, I was surprised by the fact that they didn't make me nervous," said junior Delton Utsey. "As I got up there, they were cheering me on and giving thumbs-up that showed that they were truly nice people."
While the Fund-A-Need totals are not yet known, Jones is hopeful they'll make a dent in next years' $4.1 million projected financial aid total, a sizeable increase over this year's $3.9 million.
The live auction made over $133,000. One of the most successful items from the live auction was the Derby Day package, which consisted of four VIP tickets to the Kentucky Derby as well as a private jet ride to and from the Derby.
"We were grateful that the Derby Day package sold for $13,500," said Jones.
Along with the live auction, silent auction, and other donations, Cashbash raised $288,000 from sponsorships. The Bid-Pal service was used again this year to allow guests to more efficiently bid on items and donate electronically. It also allowed the large number of guests to watch silent auction items and set a max bid price for each item.
The main reason that Cashbah is so successful is due to the amount of time and talent that is put into making it work.
"Mrs. Lally and I have been working since July on Cashbah 2017. We had a committee of 45 volunteers. However it takes a village of volunteers from bringing lunch for our committee, to set up and clean up and item donations to make this event successful," said Ragsdale.
Along with the committee of volunteers, hundreds of other students and parents volunteered to help set-up before, clean up afterwards, serve food, and spot the live auction.
"We would just like to thank everyone who helped make Oakland Downs a huge success," said Ragsdale. "The generosity of the SLUH community has once again proven that the phrase 'men/women for others' is not simply spoken, but lived here at SLUH."