For more than 50 years, The Arc of Fort Bend, comprised of dedicated volunteers and an organizational staff, has been working hard at advancing its role as a reputable advocate that also provides services to persons with special needs – those with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Not only does it do that, but it also addresses education, employment, health care, recreation and so much more, even family support.
It’s important to note that one of the most outstanding parts of The Arc of Fort Bend is the nucleus of the organization. Not many may know that the initial efforts of The Arc were launched by volunteer parents, impactful residents with special-needs children, who led the way in bringing their ideas to life. And today, a lot of us are on board.
The Best in the West, The Arc’s 41st annual fundraiser recently held at the George Ranch Arena in Richmond, has turned out to be the epitome of what community engagement looks like. The Arc, no doubt, seeks to better connect with the community to help it achieve long-term and sustainable outcomes. And given the purpose of the annual event, it turned out to be what you can call face-to-face fundraising.
After all, you purchase a ticket for admission and dinner, bid on silent and live auction items, and then also end up in the “see and be seen” crowd supporting the intents and purposes of The Arc. Those are all face-to-face fundraising and support encounters.
At the Best of the West, you also get to break bread, not just a loaf of bread, but this bread piece comes with a tasty barbeque dinner from the Swinging Door shared among friends and associates in a casual setting followed by a live auction and dancing with music by the Triumphs. That’s that nine-member band that launched B.J. Thomas’s career.
When you stop to think about it, the feel of the event is that of an old-fashioned, community gathering, a shindig at the barn complete with historical period western wear on the part of many of the participants.
Last year, more than $340,000 was raised at this event, which helps support youth and adult programs, including the Special Olympics. The Arc’s CEO, Laura LaVigne, tells us the funds generated from this year’s event will soon be released.
The themed gathering drew more than 1,000 residents from the most ethnically diverse county in the U.S. We’re not only the most diverse in America, but probably among the most charitable. Like the founders of the organization, who believed in the miracle of bringing their dream to life, during this season of giving let’s consider turning our good intentions to the caring and impactful, nonprofits in Fort Bend County, like The Arc, with our generosity.
We hear that nonprofit organizations exist as a testament to the belief that we are inclined to kindness. Fort Bend may well be at the head of the line for earning another great reputation.