Guest blogger, Bill Donatone is manager, assurance services at EY. He is also a member of United Way’s Young Leaders cabinet.
It’s slightly hard to believe (2016 is really flying by), but I recently saved a date on my and my fiancée, Andrea’s, calendars for the first week of October. As I set the Tuesday evening event, another entry caught my eye. There it was – October 8 the date of Fall Ball 2016 shining like a beam of light on the screen. I felt a rush of so many memories with friends, colleagues and fellow Young Leaders (YL) from Fall Balls past. My memories quickly shifted to excitement and anticipation of this year’s event at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame! It’s been truly amazing to see the growth of this event over the years.
I remember my first Fall Ball like it was yesterday. I had the pleasure of meeting the YL co-chairs that year, Andrea Timan and Carmen Edgehouse. I also met Paul Lepro who was taking over for Carmen as a co-chair the following year. I’m proud to say I’ve been volunteering with YL ever since.
My first Fall Ball experience was really eye opening. While I was still very young in my career, I guess I didn’t realize how many like-minded young professionals cared about Cleveland as much as I did. At that time, Cleveland wasn’t riding the wave it is now. We were trying to build momentum coming out of the recession, and still felt the sting of LeBron leaving the Cavs. But the pride and understanding of Cleveland’s potential still resonated with this group. There was an unwavering confidence that we could make a difference.
Fast forward to 2016 – the Cavs are world champs, the Republican National Convention was a success and the United Way YL group is as focused and determined as ever! I’ve seen firsthand how YL impacts the community – specifically working to eliminate the achievement gap for Cleveland kids who are a part of low-income families.
None of this work is accomplished without the funds YLs raise from Fall Ball. (Shameless plug: Tickets are on sale now. Buy them today!) Fall Ball is a great way to help the Greater Cleveland community. And it’s easy – get dressed up, bid (high) on silent auction and other raffle items, and have a blast with your friends and other like-minded young professionals. I can hear our “official” DJ Steph Floss on the turntables now!
Fall Ball is an event I look forward to 364 days a year, and I can’t wait to see how much fun everyone has again this year. As YLs like Andrea, Carmen and Paul grow in their careers and move on from the group, they can still count on Fall Ball to raise money that will undoubtedly change lives. As it says on the side of the YL van you’ll be seeing around town, “Working as one to improve the lives of many.”
Can’t wait to see you all there!