Help Asheville Affiliates help you

The Asheville Affiliates, a network of more than 3,000 young professionals, throws "parties with a purpose," raising a heap of dough for worthy local nonprofits. This year, the group will partner with four groups, staging a separate fundraiser for each of them.

Which four nonprofits? That remains to be decided, and the door is still open to groups that want to make their case. The Affiliates' board, which will choose the beneficiaries, is accepting applications through Tuesday, Jan. 26. (A Jan. 22 deadline had been announced, but when contacted for this article, Affiliates board President Jessica Hunter opted to extend the application period a few days to give Xpress readers more time to apply.)

Applying is free and relatively simple: Go to www.affiliatesofasheville.com and download the application. Once it's filled out, e-mail it to the address at the bottom of the document.

Although the organization offers the nonprofits considerable help in staging and promoting the fundraisers, Affliates beneficiaries are in for more than just a good party. Last year's events, for example, raised roughly $25,000 to benefit Green Opportunities, All Souls Counseling Center, Brother Wolf Animal Rescue and the Asheville City Schools Foundation. A separate event held to celebrate the Affiliates' 10th anniversary netted around $9,000 for the Western North Carolina AIDS Project. Over the past decade, the Affiliates have raised more than $150,000 for area nonprofits, Hunter estimates.

"We take a lot of factors into consideration when choosing which nonprofits to support," she explains. "Are they local to the Asheville area? How is their work relevant to the community? And we try to go with a wide variety of different types of groups to keep it fresh." This year's beneficiaries, says Hunter, will be announced at an event sometime in February.

The Asheville Affiliates, she stresses, is more a network than a club or group. Anyone can join by signing up for the e-mail newsletter at the above-mentioned Web site.

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About Jon Elliston
An Asheville-based mountain journalist: Former Mountain Xpress managing editor. Investigations and open government editor at Carolina Public Press. Senior contributing editor at WNC magazine.

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