Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern


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Suitcase Party maintains funding despite economy

Although many philanthropy groups have encountered fund-raising problems because of the current economic environment, Suitcase Party leaders say they are bucking that trend.

The group has raised a larger amount of corporate donations this year than in the past three years, said Talia Raviv, Suitcase Party’s corporate co-chairwoman. The event will take place Thursday night at Patten Gym and raise money for the group’s beneficiary, La Rabida Children’s Hospital. Students pay $8 in advance or $10 at the door for admittance, and organizers anticipate to have a crowd of 2,000 people.

Raviv said the group received cash donations from Kaplan Educational Centers, Lou Malnati’s Pizzeria, Integrated Profit Associates, Inc., of Buffalo Grove and radio station WKSC-FM (103.5). In previous years, Suitcase Party only has been able to gain “in-kind” donations from corporate sponsors, which are gifts of supplies such as food or equipment used to host the charity event.

“(Sponsors) really didn’t meet our needs for ‘in-kind’ donations, so they thought the best way of supporting us would be monetarily,” said Raviv, a Communication senior. “Numerically, (corporate donations probably went) up because of our more solid efforts for fund raising.”

In 2002 Suitcase Party raised a total of $32,148 for the Chicago-based charity Children’s Place Association, which helps poor children with HIV/AIDS. This figure was less than the previous year’s party proceeds of $38,307.

Dance Marathon saw a decrease in their fund-raising totals, which group leaders have partly attributed to the economic downturn.

In an effort to diversify fund-raising methods, Suitcase Party switched its focus to smaller events leading up to the party, according to the group’s treasurer Rebecca Behrens, a Weinberg junior.

Events this year have included canning, a 5K Run/Walk on Saturday and restaurant partnerships with local eateries such as Carmen’s, where Suitcase Party receives a percentage of sales to Northwestern students.

Last December, a group of about six Suitcase Party members headed to the bar-lined streets of Wrigleyville carrying cans and information about La Rabida Children’s Hospital, which serves children with chronic illnesses and disabilities. The group collected almost $200 from bar patrons and even a few panhandlers.

“We figured people would have lots of money to spend,” said food committee member Melissa Buenger, a Weinberg sophomore.

She said the time spent canning was more of a bonding experience than a productive fund-raiser and generated a very small portion of Suitcase Party’s anticipated proceeds.

Behrens said proceeds from the restaurant and 5K fund-raisers have exceeded totals from similar events last year.

Proceeds from smaller events are “not as significant as a large corporate sponsor,” said corporate committee member Aparna Raj, a Weinberg senior. “But little things add up.”

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Suitcase Party maintains funding despite economy