City: CYP’s signature event plans to pack the LC

By Columbus Alive
From the January 26, 2012 edition

Most events that draw 1,000 people to the LC involve rock stars. They typically don’t raise tens of thousands of dollars for charity.

Columbus Young Professionals is poised to do both (sans electric guitar) in a few days, when the club hosts its fifth annual Date 2 Remember fundraising event. Over the years, the event has raised more than $100,000 for local charities. This year, you can bid on date packages with local reality TV stars William Holman (“The Bachelorette,” “Bachelor Pad”) and Alli Travis (“The Bachelor”).

A Date 2 Remember started in 2007 as a date auction and fashion show. It drew 300-400 people and raised $15,000, an impressive sum for a two-year-old organization. Club leaders try to stretch and grow the event and its goals each year, said club president and CEO Derek Grosso.

“There are so many moving parts,” Grosso said. “There are so many people involved, and every year it grows.”

This year, 22 singles and three couples will be “auctioned” (a winning bid guarantees only the stuff in the package, not a date with the person) for charity with elaborate themed packages that fetch more than $1,000 on average. Most people in the crowd will be watching, not bidding, though groups of friends sometimes go in together on a package and split the cost.

Those chosen for the auction and fashion show have to go through a three-part process, involving an application, interviews and, yep, a background check.

“We see how serious they are. Are they doing it for the right reason? They need to have a presence,” Grosso said.

It’s all great fun — auction packages in the past have included skydiving excursions and flying trapeze classes — for two good causes. The Cystic Fibrosis Foundation and Flying Horse Farms, which provides an authentic camp experience for seriously ill children, benefit this year.

The evening starts with an appetizer and dessert tasting with Columbus restaurants and ends with an after-party at A&R Music Bar, which is free to those with tickets to the big event.