For over 30 years, UUCWC has sponsored a major fundraiser in the form of an auction, emphasizing the opportunities for fellowship and community-building gatherings and services. Undaunted by the pandemic, last year we pivoted to an online auction for the first time and continued with the virtual experience for the second time this spring with many reimagined and hybrid offerings. For the past 13 years, Connie Schofer has been very capably chairing the auction, and several years ago announced her intention to retire from this leadership position in order to serve our community in other ways. Having been the “face” of the auction for so long, she planned her transition from this role methodically. Our 2021 auction, “Together Wherever We Are” was her finale, and it is fitting that we exceeded our targeted budget amount!
Connie attributes the refinement to the auction components and many years of growth to June Vogel, beloved wife of Roy Vogel. Together, Roy and June introduced and inspired special themes, and professionalized the graphics and booklet and installed a software database program. Roy has often created special handmade clocks, walking sticks, toys, or objets d’art to complement the auction theme. Connie states that, “June is the one that elevated the scope and professionalism of the auction enabling the proceeds to reach higher levels.” June even spoke with the Auction Systems (our software program developers) personnel years ago, advising them on including the fixed price option into their software. UUCWC stands out for our many creative offerings in the Fixed Price – Buy Now categories, from themed dinners to cultural, outdoor, and game activities, and of course, spiritual workshops.
Many auction team and UUCWC members will recall Connie’s friendly greeting, handing out info sheets in the lobby, registering participants, training cashiers, and organizing all the collection of contributions and distribution of won items and certificates. Team members enjoyed her competent and calm leadership through what seemed to be annual challenges of one kind or the other. Each year, improvements and new innovations were introduced to keep the auction train moving forward. Cochair Barbara Drew, a team member for many years, notes that, “Connie set a solid foundation for success each year, running a smooth operation and attracting team members who could contribute to the planning and implementation at each step of the campaign, including the many follow-up details. Connie, Lynda Shapiro and Lori O’Neil, Lynne Quinto and new cochair Marcia Wittmann are all part of a team that makes the auction work less of a job and more of a fun project.”
Many hands make light work, and while utilizing an online auction program involved fewer hands-on tasks for fewer volunteers, Connie would be the first to acknowledge that is the team members, donors, buyers and bidders who make the auction successful as our fun-raising fund-raising event. Lynda Shapiro, also a long-term cochair, commented, “The team has done an exceptional job in the last 2 years, even with all the obstacles thrown our way!” She will continue to assist with the auction should we be able to have an in-person event with the boutique and gala event. This year we met the budget goal and the surplus proceeds will benefit the Bucks County Opportunity Council, a nonprofit organization that serves as the county’s lead food agency for families in need. Our projected net proceeds are approximately $35,000. All won items have been delivered, and events offering food, fellowship and fun are taking place now through next April. (A few of the 2021 auction events have a few spaces open: for more info about a specific offering, contact email@example.com. ) In the meantime, enjoy, and join us in thanking Connie for helping to make the auction the vehicle to keep us “Together Wherever We Are.”