Who: The young professionals and future CEOs that the LEAD Project seems to attract.
What: LEAD Project Holiday Ball
Why: To celebrate the holidays and raise money for Children’s Dental Services.
Where: The Minneapolis Club
When: Dec. 5th, 2009
I’m guessing—I don’t have stats or anything—that last Saturday was the liveliest night The Minneapolis Club had seen in a while. Usually a place for power lunches and weddings for aspirational young couples, the LEAD Project and 300+ guests took over the clubroom for its usual fundraiser—cocktails followed by a gubernatorial, er, I mean inspirational speech from former Sen. Norm Coleman, dancing, an open bar, a vodka luge, and the kind of shenanigans the open bar/dancing/vodka luge combination tends to produce.
There were giant snowflakes hanging from the ceilings, young women decked out in BCBG cocktail dresses and a higher-than-average number of Chanel evening bags, guys in tuxedos, three hired snowbunny dancers, and even a tooth fairy. All of which marked a new era for the three-year-old organization.
LEAD is in the process of passing the torch from the founding members—Matt Hemsley, Eric Dayton, Ryan Burnet, Dan Miller, et cetera—to an entirely new batch of ambitious young philanthropists, including Jon Applebaum, Bridget Ulrich, Jason Lima, and Peter Prudden. After chatting up Jon, it sounds like this could be a positive change for the group.
“We want LEAD to become really accessible for anyone who wants to be able to make a difference,” Jon says, acknowledging that LEAD has been perceived as “snobby” in the past, and adding that the price of future events may hover around $40 opposed to that night’s $85 pricetag, which PP found pretty reasonable considering the endless supply of cocktails.
Judging by the people who packed dance floor right until the end, there are plenty of up-and-coming philanthropists who hope LEAD sticks to that message. Anyone interested in getting involved or attending a soiree can check out theleadproject.org.