Valentine Ball marks 25 years

5 mins read

Fundraiser combines private dinner parties with gala event

It’s the most anticipated invitation of the year — the Valentine Ball dinner party.

Organizers of the Beaufort Memorial Hospital Foundation black tie gala will soon be making up the guest lists for some 50 private dinner parties that serve as the warm up for the main event. Two weeks before the Feb. 8 ball, invitations will be sent out to those who purchased tickets, revealing the dinner party they will attend.

Beaufort Memorial Hospital Foundation Executive Director Alice Moss, left, and longtime Valentine Ball supporters Becky Trask and Weezie Gibson review memorabilia from past balls. Trask and Gibson have both been involved with the annual fundraiser since its inception, with Gibson serving as co-chair of the first Valentine Ball. She and her husband Jim will once again co-chair this year’s 25th Anniversary event along with Dr. Aaron and Melissa Bliley.
Beaufort Memorial Hospital Foundation Executive Director Alice Moss, left, and longtime Valentine Ball supporters Becky Trask and Weezie Gibson review memorabilia from past balls. Trask and Gibson have both been involved with the annual fundraiser since its inception, with Gibson serving as co-chair of the first Valentine Ball. She and her husband Jim will once again co-chair this year’s 25th Anniversary event along with Dr. Aaron and Melissa Bliley.

“The pre-ball dinner parties are so much fun,” said Allison Coppage, who is co-hosting one of the parties at her Lady’s Island home with husband, Ben, and friends Elizabeth and Andy Klosterman. “Everyone pulls out their best china and crystal. It’s an elegant, intimate affair.”

To get an invitation, you need to purchase your ticket by Jan. 15.

After the deadline, a committee will meet to select groups of four to 12 couples for each dinner, being careful to create different and diverse groups every year.

“The dinner parties are the highlight of the ball,” said Coppage’s mother, Cindy Collins, who will be hosting a party herself with husband Dr. Brad Collins. “You get the chance to socialize with folks that you normally wouldn’t meet. And you’re helping raise money for hospital needs that are not met through the regular budget.”

In addition to providing the venue for the parties and developing their own menu, hosts might decorate their homes in addition to underwriting all dinner costs, helping maximize proceeds to support Beaufort Memorial.

“Our friends and supporters have provided dinners for as many as 800 people,” said Foundation Executive Director Alice Moss. “It’s a huge part of our recipe for success.”

Since its inception 25 years ago, the Valentine Ball has raised nearly $4 million to improve services at the nonprofit hospital. This year, the money has been earmarked for the expansion of the Intensive Care Unit from eight to 12 beds.

The Beaufort Memorial Foundation board of trustees came up with the idea for the pre-ball parties as a way to entice participants to the inaugural event held in 1990.

“We thought people would be more likely to attend the ball if they had dinner with friends first and then went to the gala,” recalled Weezie Gibson, who was serving on the foundation board in 1990 and went on to co-chair the inaugural gala with her husband, Jim. “In later years, we changed it and began mixing up social groups for each party. That’s especially nice with a steady stream of newcomers who are looking to become involved in their community.”

In celebration of the Valentine Ball’s 25th year, the Gibsons once again will co-chair the event. They are sharing the top post with Dr. Aaron Bliley and his wife Melissa.

“My husband and I are big fans of Beaufort Memorial,” said Gibson, who has hosted numerous pre-ball dinner parties over the past quarter century. “It’s so important to have a good hospital in the community. Until you end up in the emergency room or the intensive care unit, you don’t realize just how important it is.”

The fundraiser will begin with dinner at a private residence, followed at 9 p.m. by the gala in the new Beaufort Memorial Medical & Administrative Center on Ribaut Road across from the main hospital campus.

At the ball, guests will have the opportunity to enjoy dessert and coffee, dance to live music and participate in a silent auction.

Tickets to the Valentine Ball start at $150 per person and include several levels of sponsorships. For more information or to purchase tickets, visit www.valentineball.org or call 843-522-5774.

Latest from Blog

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

Woman’s love of Beaufort redeemed I love Beaufort, because of the people. My daughter and I…