Bancroft's Butterfly Ball Breaks Donation Record
The event raised $450,000 to help people with autism, brain injuries and other challenges.
More people are living with autism or brain injuries than ever before. And it appears that more people than ever want to help, based on a record-breaking fundraiser this month.
The 20th annual Bancroft Butterfly Ball raised more than $450,000 and hosted 400 guests—exceeding any previous event held by Bancroft, a leading nonprofit service-provider for people with disabilities.
The future of Bancroft's 19.2-acre home campus on Kings Highway East has been a topic if immense public interest for the past year. A referendum for a public purchase of the property was rejected by voters last month.
The failed public purchase and the future of Bancroft in Haddonfield were not the main attraction of the ball, however. Sportscaster Michael Barkann of Comcast Sports Network was the volunteer emcee, and the black-tie gala raised funds Bancroft’s programs for people with autism, acquired brain injuries and other intellectual or developmental disabilities.
Abilities were also on display at the ball, which featured a drum circle by Bancroft students and a local harpist who benefited from Bancroft’s therapy. A man with brain injuries showed in a special video presentation how Bancroft helped him rebuild his life.
“Bancroft helps people with disabilities achieve what others never thought possible,” Bancroft President Toni Pergolin said. She noted that the ball’s proceeds will provide more opportunities for children and adults with disabilities, including access to current technology and modern facilities. “More families will have peace of mind,” she added.
Held at the Merion in Cinnaminson, the ball spotlighted several community leaders, who received special awards during the festivities.
The evening was rounded out by dinner, dancing, live music and a silent auction. The ball also featured a text pledge initiative, through which guests could pledge additional donations to Bancroft throughout the night by text message on their cell phones. That effort alone raised $30,000—contributing 7 percent to the ball’s fundraising total.
Over the years, the ball has raised more than $3 million for Bancroft programs, with “each and every dollar directed to improve the lives of those we serve,” Pergolin said. “We are so grateful for this incredible support, which enables us to fulfill our vital mission.”
Proceeds from the ball represent almost a third of Bancroft’s unrestricted donations, known as the Margaret Bancroft Annual Fund. This fund supports everything from recreational activities to facility improvements to staff professional development. Such donations are especially vital because Bancroft can use these funds where they’re most needed—unlike “restricted” gifts that must be spent for the specific purpose designated by the donor.