Debra Dion Krischke is a veteran special event producer, former restaurateur and women’s advocate for the past 30 years. In a previous chapter of her life, she produced an International Paintball Festival that ran for 16 years and brought in millions to the Pittsburgh suburb where it was located. The mulit-faceted event included an industry conference, trade show, tournament with over 1500 competitors and a players party. Wanting to follow her passion of helping women in need, she transitioned to producing events for women’s initiatives in 2006 and never looked back.
The success of the Glass Slipper Ball and the women behind it, are what have made a larger vision possible. The saying, “We are all born angels with one wing, but by locking arms we can fly! “ is so true. Heartfelt thanks to the many volunteers, sponsors, chairwomen, and especially to the Zonta Club of Pittsburgh North for sharing their talent, ideas, energy and commitment.
The Story Behind the Glass Slipper Ball………..
Like many things in life, creating something new is a combined result of an evolution of thoughts, action, events and people. From the beginning, it was apparent the stars were lining up to launch this event into the stratosphere. And since women love stories, we thought we’d share with you the story of how it came to be…….
Over the past 25 years the small, local Zonta Club struggled with fundraisers and lack of visibility within the community. Being a volunteer organization, Zonta Three Rivers Pittsburgh North came into the new millennium needing to attract new members and new talent. But this is a very difficult time for women. They are juggling many balls in the air, and tend to put themselves last. Many working mothers and professional women have taken multi-tasking to an unhealthy level. Yet for the past 85 years, Zonta clubs worldwide have attracted women, very busy women, to help make a difference in women’s lives on a global level.
Our chairperson, Debra Dion Krischke, being a member of Zonta for over 18 years, and having worked on many committees, decided over a decade ago to produce a benefit Christmas party in her home, with proceeds to go to scholarships for women. With the help of her husband, daughter and friends, they were able to raise $5,000 to $10,000 a year.
In 2003, returning from an Anthony Robbins Firewalk, Debra had a lightbulb moment concerning her upcoming Christmas party. She thought, “Wouldn’t it be fabulous to have just the chefs she knew personally give their ‘best effort’ for a fundraiser?”. Her Christmas party that year saw eight chefs outdo themselves with signature hors’doeuvres and desserts. Everyone involved that night knew the concept needed to “Go Big”. Little did they know how that would eventually play out.
At the same time, Zonta was evolving and five years ago embraced an idea to do a dance at Arthur Murray. The next year it evolved into a 50’s dance with Johnny Angel and was repeated the following year. It raised an all time record of $7,000 and the entire club was ecstatic. Although the process had left us depleted and overwhelmed, there were still a handful of women, with great skills, willing to take their piece of the production and do it one more time.
Knowing she had at least a handful of chefs and a handful of women committed to an event, Debra presented our club with a lofty goal that would stretch all of us in many ways. Her enthusiasm for the event and commitment to it’s success permeated our meetings and soon others “caught the bug”. The first year, we were able to give over $35,000 to the various agencies we support. They, in turn, handle the applications and selections for worthy candidates. Zonta Three Rivers Pittsburgh North was thrilled as they parceled out the funds!
The second year we raised over $67,000 and the event moved into the fine-tuning stage. More importantly it gave the club the visibility it needed and deserved after all these years. . The club continues to attract new members, many with the needed skills and corporate connections that make all the difference.
Truly it can be said that “The Whole is Greater Than the Sum of it’s Parts…..but it’s Parts are Really Something! ”
Bon Voyage – and get ready for take off! The Glass Slipper Ball is making a difference for women and organizations in communities nationwide!
Looking for a fundraiser for your agency or organization? Check out our website
www.FoodieFundraising.com for more ideas!