This has been a long, long week, culminating in a gala that took place tonight. As you may know, the reason we moved to Austin from Amarillo two years ago is because I took a job as executive director for the Central Texas Chapter of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. I'll tell you more about the Foundation one of these days, but in a nutshell, after more than 20 years in the nonprofit sector, I just can't see being any happier with my job or my organization than I am with this one.
When I came on board, the chapter was struggling. Austin's a decent-sized city with quite a bit of fundraising potential, so it was surprising that the chapter's annual budget was half that of the nonprofit I ran in Amarillo. Last year (2007) was my first full year with the Foundation, and our chapter's revenue was 40% higher than the year before. Now, while that sounds impressive, there was a lot of room for improvement.
Until the last few weeks and the whole Wall Street/bailout/stock market situation, our revenue was trending 46% higher than last year's. We were to hold our first gala ever tonight, and though we'd done a really great job selling sponsorships, securing entertainment, and selecting a great venue, the time to sell tickets and tables fell right during this whole economy mess. Initially, we had hoped for 300 people and $175,000 in revenue. As the event drew nearer, and the Wall Street mess grew, we were hoping for 250 people and $140,000 in revenue. Then, as you know, the stock market crashed the week of our event, and I decided to be happy with 200 people and $105,000 in revenue.
Well, the event was tonight, and we had just short of 200 people in attendance. Thanks to some very generous revelers, however, our early numbers show we may have netted as much as $120,000 tonight. Now, that's shy of our initial goal, but given the timing of the event with the economic situation our country is in, I'm pretty thrilled. And so very thankful. And so very tired.
My good friend, Lisa, will be in town this week, and I can't wait to see her. I'll also have a decorating project to show you later on this week. Stay tuned...