Celebrity Auctioneer Erin Ward Helps Patrons Raise Their Paddles For Good
Top celebrity auctioneer Erin Ward has helped raise more than a million dollars for GLAAD this year, the latest haul for the LGBTQ advocacy group coming during Saturday's celeb-packed GLAAD Media Awards. Now the fundraiser has her sights set on creating opportunities for the nation's girls at the Girls Inc. of New York City Annual Spring Gala at Cipriani Broadway on Wednesday.
In bicoastal GLAAD benefits - one in Los Angeles honoring Beyoncé and Jay Z, and one in New York City Saturday at the New York Hilton Midtown - Ward inspired giving at the highest level to help GLAAD promote acceptance and equality for the LGBTQ community. As Ward commanded the stage to fundraise, Madonna, there to accept the nonprofit's Advocate for Change Award, also pledged $25,000 to the organization at the event, which featured appearances by Sarah Jessica Parker, Anderson Cooper, Don Lemon, Andy Cohen, Samantha Bee and Shangela.
On Wednesday, in keeping with Girls Inc.'s mission to help empower the next generation of young women, Ward, the rare female in a male-dominated field, will introduce 12-year-old West Coaster Ava Wiles to the New York fundraising scene. Ward will lead a team in raising funds for the girl-power charity that includes Ava and her mother, JillMarie Wiles, and Ward's own mother Jill Doherty; both JillMarie Wiles and Doherty are international auctioneer champions. Like Ward, Ava has attended auctioneering school and is following in the footsteps of her mother.
Since 2005, Ward has helped raise well over $100 million for diverse nonprofits across the United States and internationally through her company Star Benefit Auctions. The award-winning fundraiser has a special touch that motivates donors to connect with deserving charities and dig deep in their hearts and pockets in support of their humanitarian missions - whether it be fighting cancer, championing equality, educating children or protecting the environment.
It appears to happen in an instant - with Ward on stage for mere minutes during each event - but the third-generation auctioneer often works with her clients up to a year in advance of their big galas to help engineer the evening for maximum results. Clients include the Boston Area Rape Crisis Center, the Arthritis Foundation, the Riverside Park Conservancy, Hudson River Museum, and many more.
"I'm so happy to have found a way to help do-gooders do good. There are so many worthy charities and I love digging in to discover all I can about their mission so I can inspire giving at the highest level," said Ward.
She credits her success to her training, empathy and women's intuition. Her rapid-fire benefit auctions and paddle raises - which she calls on-site crowdfunding moments - are a fun, productive way to let patrons show their support.
The 2018 New York State auction champion was named a rising star by New York Nonprofit Media, receiving their 2018 "40 under 40" Award. Ward can be reached at https://starbenefitauctions.com/.
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