Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Volunteers Help Make Heart History

Volunteers always make a difference but last week, they actually helped make AHA history! Raising a record-setting $1.5 million – the largest night of giving in the history of the American Heart Association – the Dallas Côtes du Coeur was a phenomenal success. Of course, most people know that everything is bigger in Texas and the success of this event proves that nothing is bigger than the hearts of our local volunteers. From securing auction items to recruiting sponsors and from hosting pre-events to promoting the big night, the 325 volunteers involved in Côtes du Coeur were instrumental in achieving a 31% increase in revenue.

Volunteers including event chair Tim Wallace, CEO of Trinity Industries, and renowned Dallas Chef Richard Chamberlain of Chamberlain’s Steak & Chop House and Chamberlain’s Fish Market Grill, worked with AHA staff throughout the year to build momentum for the spring Gala during a series of smaller pre-parties and functions.

This combination of multiple events and focus on quality makes Côtes du Coeur the largest event of its kind in the Southwest and one of the top seven galas held nationwide for the American Heart Association. Proceeds from the event go directly to the AHA for cardiovascular research and heart-health education programs. During its 18-year history, Côtes du Coeur has attracted more than 15,000 attendees and has raised more than $11 million.

At the main event, Chef Chamberlain led 14 acclaimed chefs in the creation of a tasting menu and wine pairing from 28 elite wineries from America and abroad. Attendees enjoyed a multi-course fine dining experience created around a specific wine varietal for each dish. Following the meal, they were invited to purchase rare and collectible wine during the live and silent auctions.

No job was too big or small for our volunteers, for wherever there was a need there was a volunteer lead. For example, Dani Cook, Hospitality Chair from Trinity Industries led the concierge team for the evening. This team was each assigned one or multiple tables with the sole goal of ensuring that all guests had a great time and all of their questions were answered.

The best news of the evening for the AHA staff was learning that many of the volunteer team are interested in joining the 2010 Côtes du Coeur team. This includes Wallace, who will be back at the helm as Chair. Thank you to all volunteers for your time, energy, passion and commitment – we cannot meet our research and cardiovascular health goals without you.

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