The Little Auction That Could

Fund-Raising — By andrew on November 18, 2009 at 10:56 pm

The Little Auction That CouldTalk about innovation in fundraising.  The Little Auction That Could, a fundraiser in the tony, coastal enclave of Sewall’s Point, Florida has shown that despite the economy, new concepts can invigorate the giving community.  Karla Preissman, Hibiscus Children’s Center volunteer, a nonprofit charitable organization that cares for abused and neglected children said the idea came to her in the middle of the night.  As a way to raise funds for a literacy project within the children’s shelter, Karla Preissman asked iconic figures if they would sign a copy of their favorite childhood book for a charity benefit auction.  More than 85 celebrities agreed, with their selections as varied and curious as the people who signed them.

 The first book submitted was The Travels of Babar.  A gracious benefactor, who wishes to remain anonymous, purchased the book for $850,000, which was signed by former First Lady Barbara Bush and her son,  Jeb Bush, the 43rd Governor of Florida.

The book is part of a larger collection up for auction this week through November 24 that includes signed childhood favorite books from some of the most famous people in world, including President Obama, Maya Angelou, John Glenn, Jimmy Buffett, Hugh Hefner, Tiger Woods, Senator John McCain, Oprah Winfrey, Jack Nicklaus and Jane Goodall. 

The complete listing of signed books and information about bidding, can be seen at  The exhibition can be seen in person at the Elliott Museum in Stuart, Florida (  through November 29, 2009. Magazine gently reminds everyone that although fundraising efforts can be a chore, innovation coupled with technology shows that the sky is the limit.  Don’t be afraid to be creative.  The winner, as always, is the charity.

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    1 Comment

  • I am amazed what the three co-chairs, Karla Preissman, Karen Jansen and Joanne Zarro have been able to accomplish. A first time event raising a million dollars in this economomy is not an innovation, it is a miracle.