ONTARIO - Cathy Yasuda wasn’t sure what to expect when the Treasure Valley Community College Foundation’s biggest annual fundraising event ran smack into the realities and restrictions of a global pandemic.

Organizers set to work moving transforming the 2020 TVCC Gala into an online silent and live auction. At the same time, she realized businesses and individuals who usually donate to the event have been dealing with their own challenges.

“We realize everybody’s been impacted by Covid,” said Yasuda, the foundation’s executive director. “But we’ve been really surprised at the response. We are so grateful to everyone who has made a donation.”

The event, in its ninth year, raises money for Treasure Valley Community College student scholarships. Organizers shoot for at least $50,000.

“Our Gala is our largest fundraiser, and it’s a huge community event,” she said.

It’s usually a fancy evening party that draws some 350 people to bid on auction items, have dinner, socialize and enjoy some games.

With the pandemic, that format gives way to a virtual event – really a couple of events – with the help of Baker Auction Co. The theme is “A Different Event for a Different Time.”

The silent auction will span a week online, starting Friday, Nov. 6, and the live auction will be at 7 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 7, via Zoom, Facebook Live and YouTube.

Yasuda said people can go to the foundation web page to learn how the auction works. The foundation’s Facebook page also tempts bidders with examples of auction items.

The auction’s popular “bling rings” return this year, and are available for $100 apiece. Ring buyers are eligible for a drawing in which the winner gets to claim one live auction item.

The loss of the social event, while temporary, is a big change the organizers hope to soften. Yasuda said that usually, attendees reserve a table and invite friends to enjoy the dinner party.

While that’s not possible this year, supporters are encouraged to host “watch parties” for family or friends to view the live auction at their own homes or businesses. Those who sign up to host a watch party are entered into an advance drawing for prizes such dessert or appetizer packages and even a light catered dinner for the viewing night.

The live auction will feature 15 items, and the silent auction has many more.

Live auction items include a private suite to watch Idaho Steelhead hockey action in VIP style, a burnished steel American eagle sculpture by Travis Amick, a $1,000 college scholarship, and a Coach tote bag.

Silent auction items include an overnight casino stay plus buffets in Jackpot, Nevada; a genuine bear skin; a 7-foot tactical spinning rod; four reserved seats for a Boise Hawks baseball game; an Idaho Botanical Garden membership; gift certificates and more.

Winning bidders can pick up their items on Friday, Nov. 13, at the foundation office on the TVCC campus.

Yasuda said collecting the donations has been an unusual experience – wearing masks and talking to people outside and through screen doors. But the response has been gratifying, she said.

“Like everyone else, we’ve had to think outside the box and do things in a different way,” Yasuda said. “And we’re so grateful to all of our supporters, and all of our volunteers.”

Mark your calendar

2020 TVCC GALA

• Silent Auction – Nov. 6-12

• Live Auction – 7 p.m. Nov. 7

Online with Zoom, Facebook Live, YouTube

• Bling rings – Available at Four Rivers Cultural Center, Red Apple, tvcc.cc/foundation/

• Information: TVCC Foundation on the web and Facebook, or call 541-881-5586.

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