There are some events you go to that are just gathering places for people with common interests to mingle and network. There are other events that transform into a Colosseum of discord, with fierce debate and rising tempers, where competing ideas battle for supremacy like ancient gladiators.
Most big events are monstrous beasts that are notoriously hard to tame. They’re filled with lots of moving parts that break without warning.
But all events aren’t created equal.
On January 13, 2016, Foothill’s Club of Tucson hosted an incredible charity event for the masses. The entire evening was fun and fluid; each moment transitioned into the next flawlessly. Time seemed to disappear. The organizers and volunteers shepherded over a hundred bodies through a live band, dinner, drinks, dancing, a silent auction, a raffle drawing, and entertainment blackjack and poker without ever sacrificing form or cohesiveness. It was a spectacular night, stitched together by a striking commitment to charity.
The event was called “Love on The Rocks,” the 7th annual fundraising event hosted by Foothill’s Club of Tucson before Valentine’s Day. The general purpose of this annual event is to use the unifying theme of love and happiness on Valentine’s Day to help motivate people to give back to the less fortunate in Southern Arizona.
Foothill’s Club of Tucson is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that’s dedicated to helping “children and families in need in Southern Arizona.” This allows them to offer specialized scholarships and grants to children, charities and families throughout the community. They’ve raised money for and given scholarships and grants to Integrative Touch for Kids, The Ronald McDonald House Charities of Southern Arizona, Youth On Their Own, Make Way for Books, Nourish, Grow 2B Fit Foundation, Tucson Village Farm, Tucson Clean & Beautiful, and many others.
Foothill’s Club of Tucson and their Love on The Rocks event is different than many other fundraising events I’ve attended. The main difference is in the atmosphere, in the people who participate. The members are truly delightful to be around. The moment you walk into a Foothill’s Club of Tucson meeting, you’re enveloped by an affable embrace that’s warm and welcoming. A palpable sense of joy illuminates the room around them; laughter replays in the background like a theme song.
Nonetheless, no event achieves real success without an extremely powerful engine underneath the hood. Chrissy Frey is the ignition that becomes the fire of Foothill’s Club of Tucson. She works tirelessly behind the scenes to produce events that mirror her personality and spirit—they must be fun, but effective; successful, but generous; spectacular, but inviting. Chrissy is the new face of a centuries-old social model where successful business owners rise to accept the challenge of helping the communities around them prosper. She personally believes that when each individual takes responsibility for “paying-it-forward,” society as a whole moves forward as a result.
When I was first introduced to Foothill’s Club of Tucson by Chrissy and her father, I wasn’t sure what to expect. Her father came off as a lion of wisdom, filled with life and authenticity. I immediately bought into his vision. Still, I was utterly unprepared for what I found when I arrived. The members were fiercely committed to giving back to the less fortunate in the community. They probed me for ideas on how to reach troubled youth. They shared with me strategies that were useful to assist impoverished families.
This wasn’t the business card exchange party I’d initially imagined it might be, instead, it was a meeting of the minds on how to best assist the kids who need it most in Southern Arizona. This was a human family reunion; brothers helping brothers, sisters helping sisters.
This is also the attitude that made Love on The Rocks such an amazing event. People who can make a difference came together to actually make that difference. It was a night of giving, an interactive forum for progress. The dinner, the costumes, the dances, the band, none of it was theater. It was all brilliantly orchestrated for the purpose of making a child somewhere in Southern Arizona smile again.
From the silent auction to the raffle tickets, the goal of Love on The Rocks was to harness the power of business owners to help re-shape our universe. I feel honored to have been a small part of it all. Count me in for next year.