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More than 200 guests attended the 23rd Black and White Soiree to support the Advocates’ operational budget.

Prosecco in hand, attendees at the 23rd annual Black and White Soiree—an annual fundraiser for the Advocates—mingled on the lawn of the Trail Creek Pavilion on Friday night. All those present were at the event to raise funds in the hope of continuing the mission of the Advocates: “to teach people of all ages how to build and maintain healthy relationships … through education, shelter and support services.”

As soft live music played and the appetizers circulated, guests stood for photo-ops and made their way into the giant white tent for a quick-paced auction, dinner and dancing. The fundraiser is the only event the Hailey-based organization puts on each year to raise funds for its operational budget, which supports the shelter and other day-to-day operations.

According to Director of Development and Engagement Shannon Nichols, 286 people attended this year’s event, and $360,000 was raised.

Auctioned packages included a week-long trip to Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, a package of 36 bottles of wine to start a personal wine collection, dinner for two at Gastrolab on Valentine’s Day, a prohibition-themed party brought to your home courtesy of the Warfield and roundtrip tickets to Seattle with tickets to a Seahawks game included. Besides the live auction, 100 “golden tickets” were sold during cocktail hour, and three lucky winners won trips to Jackson Hole, Wyo., a weekend trip in Stanley or a weekend in Boise with tickets to a Broncos game.

“[We’re] super pleased with the turnout,” Nichols said after the event on Friday night.

Roughly 45 percent of the organizations $1.2 million budget comes from the Soiree event; the rest comes from other donations from the community. Together, the funding supports the Advocates’ community outreach initiatives, education and resources for women and their children who seek refuge from a dangerous situation.

On Friday night, 14 women and their children and pets were calling the Advocates’ shelter home.

“To be on call is to be nurturing and invisible until needed,” said Dr. Tom Archie, president of the Advocates’ board of directors. “The Advocates are always on call.”

As the evening got underway, attendees were reminded of the cause for which they were there with a short video of local women who turned to the Advocates in their time of need and shared their success stories. Then, the bidding began.

“This paddle is the most powerful tool you have,” Archie told the crowd.

The guests, rambunctious perhaps from the free wine and beer, began to bid. As the live auction came to a close, the dance floor opened up with live music by the Big Wow Band from Boise.

In 2018, the Advocates provided 4,739 nights of safety to victims of abuse and answered 8,653 calls for help, according to their website. Because of the Black and White Soiree, victims of abuse in Blaine, Custer and Lincoln counties will continue to be served.

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