CASAblanca nets $37,000

Published 11:38 am Thursday, August 20, 2009

On Saturday, July 25, Cass County CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates for children) hosted its third annual auction, CASAblanca at the Mathews Conference Center on the campus of Southwestern Michigan College. Beth McLoughlin chaired the event again this year with help from the entire board and staff.

By any measure, the event was a roaring success. Early estimates indicate CASA’s net income from the event exceeded $37,000. Jim Ward, Program Director remarked to the audience that it cost on average $950 to recruit, train, and support a new volunteer in their first year. Cass County has 150 children in foster care and this will allow the program to grow past its current number of 18 active volunteer advocates.

Approximately 200 people attended the event and seemed to enjoy themselves. With eight different food stations to choose from, there was no reason to go hungry. The food was donated by local restaurants including Broadway CafĂ©, Maury’s Pub, Orchard Hills Country Club, Park Shore Marina & Grill, Sauk Trail Bar & Grille, Wood Fire Trattoria, Caruso’s Candy Kitchen, and S’ Wonderful Confections.

The event featured both a silent and live auction, with live entertainment throughout the night by the Dillon Brothers. When it came time for the live auction, Jim Miller, the auctioneer, really turned it on. He got top dollar for Notre Dame football tickets, Cubs and White Sox tickets. Dinners on Diamond Lake, Robbins Lake, Blackberry Farm, and Dowagiac Creek all generated lively bidding. A weekend get-away to Chicago and a Carriage House Culinary Event were also fought over. Even a 3000 pound rock, much to the amazement of the auctioneer, fetched a goodly sum. But the biggest return came from a “call to the heart,” pure donations to help the CASA program train new volunteers to help the kids.

The Cass County CASA Board and Program Director would like to thank everyone who participated in this event for making it such a success. We realize that the economy has impacted everyone and we appreciate the generosity in this community and their willingness to support such a worthy cause.

Cass County CASA was started by the Honorable Susan Dobrich of the Cass County Family Court in 1995. CASA is a not-for-profit agency of trained volunteers from the community who are appointed by the judge to advocate for abused and neglected children in foster care.

For more information about CASA contact Jim Ward, Program Director at 269 445-4431 or