Women's Caucus Annual Auction Surpasses Fundraising Goal for MDA
The Women’s Caucus, a student organization at the Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law, far exceeded its fundraising goal with its 37th annual auction on March 6 at the law school. This year’s recipient of the group’s fundraising efforts was the Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA) of Central Indiana.
Women’s Caucus also had a goal of at least 300 attendees. While there wasn’t an exact count available, the group sold more than 260 auction paddles, and organizers are confident there were well over 300 law students, faculty, staff, alumni and friends of the school at the event. A highlight of the auction was Professor Michael Pitts, who auctioned off the first item of the evening while wearing a pink rabbit suit akin to the one worn by the character, Ralphie, in the movie, “A Christmas Story.” Professor Pitts donned the rabbit costume after he garnered the most student votes to win the honor at the Barrister’s Ball. Votes were $1 each, and the effort raised over $400. Other participants included Professor Frank Sullivan, Jr., who would have worn a Union officer uniform, fashioned after the kind worn during the Civil War; and 3L Barath Raman, who would have worn the rabbit costume.
Another highlight was the antics of two MDA campers, Zachary and Austin Pfeifer, who were special guests of the auction with their mother, Sara Pfeifer. The boys have Charcot-Marie-Tooth (CMT) disease. The disorder causes damage to the peripheral nerves, which carry signals from the brain to the muscles and the spinal cord. CMT causes muscle weakness and atrophy, and some loss of sensation in the limbs and extremities.
Zachary and Austin egged the crowd on to bid higher when they thought bidders weren’t spending enough money. Their good-natured jokes were a hit with attendees.
Women’s Caucus chose to support MDA in memory of IU McKinney student Kevin Donohue, a member of the Class of 2015 who died June 10, 2013. He earned a bachelor’s degree in biochemistry at Purdue University, and a master’s in biology on the IUPUI campus. Upon completing his legal studies, his goal was to become a patent attorney. Donohue and his family were supporters of MDA’s mission, and Women’s Caucus wanted to honor his memory by contributing to that cause with this year’s auction.
“I think that I can speak for all of us when I say that we were blown away by the support for the auction -- from all directions -- students, faculty, and vendors and professionals within the community,” said 2L Alyson Ackerman, auction co-chair.
Food that attendees enjoyed was contributed by Amelia’s and Bluebeard, both of which are owned by 3L Ed Battista. Varsity Liquors and Laura Perry donated the beer and wine. Other donors included Hankey Law Office, and LewisWagner LLP.
Women’s Caucus has raised funds through its auction to benefit several local not-for-profit organizations, including homeless shelters, domestic violence shelters, and charities that specifically benefit children. This year, the group raised $18,530, which far exceeded its original goal of $10,000. The $18,530 is the equivalent to the cost of sending 23 kids to MDA’s annual summer camp, which is where the funds will be directed.