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Ron Lester

History of Disco Party Fundraiser

by Ron Lester
August 22, 2008
See Marilynn Larkin's report on the latest Disco Party Fundraiser.
I had participated in The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society's Team and Training program by raising over $3300 and did the Mighty Montauk Triathlon in June of 2003. Later that same year I agreed to participate in the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society's Light the Night walk across the Brooklyn Bridge. I became team captain for the Investment Banking Division's GIS group at Credit Suisse First Boston. We had a team of 18 people and raised over $9000. During one of our team meetings, Liza, who was at the time, a CSFB Foundation representative, announced that I was going to do a Disco Party. Though I had mentioned it to her informally some time before, her publicly announcing it made it a reality!

I'm glad that Liza called me out like that because otherwise I may not have done the Disco Party. I did it, and it was so much fun despite a small turn out. I couldn't stop dancing and was surprised that a little more than $300 was raised. That amount, along with other funds I raised individually, was added to the team total. Well, that was the very first Disco Party, and I said to myself that I must keep doing this. I had grown to love making a difference through fundraising, and I've always loved to dance. So I figured, why not keep doing it and do it once a month (with the exception of December, because of the holidays). Well, the very next month (November 2003) I did Disco Party II and raised a little over $900 for the Walk to End Domestic Violence. That party was even more fun than the last one, and because of an inadvertent double booking by the nightclub, we had way more people in attendance. The folks from the other party joined the Disco Party because, well, what can I say, our music was better! That made me so happy. However, I was also completely spent, and decided not to Disco Party once a month, but quarterly. That way I could focus more on doing substantial fundraising for the organization and sufficient promotion for the Disco Party event. I also chose to change the name to Disco Party Fundraiser (DPF).

So, after having ample time off to get energized again, I begin to put my new format into action. The format was to do Disco Party Fundraiser on the last Friday before each season change and to raise money for specific causes pertaining to a season. In the spring, money would be raised for health related issues. In the summer, money would be raised for environmental matters, NYC park conservancies, community gardens or summer youth programs. In the fall, money would be raised for educational grants, scholarship funds or educational programs in different disciplines, such as music and art. In the winter money would be raised for organizations in the arts, such as theater, dance, art galleries, writing workshops and the like.

With the new format in place, Disco Party Fundraiser raised money for the following organizations in 2004: The Lupus Foundation of America BRONX CHAPTER in March, The West Harlem Environmental Action (WE ACT) in June, The Cadets of New York City in September, and African American Women in Cinema in December.

2004 was a banner year for Disco Party Fundraiser. Being that it was our first with the new format, we did well. DPF raised a total of more than $13,000 for all of the organizations.
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