Building Twentyone in Mason hosted “Comedy for a Cause” on March 4. This was a fundraising event for the teen center to support its programs and help with the costs to run the organization.
The event had a DJ, food, and the main attraction, comedian Joey I.L.O. The fundraiser was in-person, but people could also attend virtually.
“You had so many different types of people in the room from different walks of life … to me, that’s what was so beautiful about the comedy that it was so organic and just all came together and there were so many people from different walks and to see them all laughing together, man, it was beautiful,” said I.L.O.
The fundraiser was bigger than what Building Twentyone Director Benjamin Schartow was expecting. There ended up being around 120 people in-person, and at least 30 people virtually. The event raised more than $17,000, according to the Building Twentyone website.
“You can tell there was an energy because everyone was just itching, clawing – whatever word you want to describe it – to get out and do some live entertainment. Everybody is just begging for it … we thought we would have like 50 people here or 60 people, and the last two weeks it just doubled in size,” said Schartow.
Building Twentyone helps students after school. It helps them build good habits and values, and helps them find their passion. It offers tutoring, help with classes, and even has programs such as cooking or art. It had 25-30 students before COVID and is just now getting back to being able to see these students in person again.
Katy Fedurek, an intern at Building Twentyone, helped behind the scenes with the fundraiser. She helped serve food and worked in the VIP section. She explained that the organization has been discussing this event since at least November, and there was a lot of work and planning that had to go into it, including finding sponsorships.
Building Twentyone usually hosts a tailgate fundraiser, but had to cancel last year due to COVID. However, with this event being such a success, it is possible it will continue doing events, along with the tailgating fundraiser.