The Jacksonville Promise Scholarship Program has had to change fundraising plans this year to roll with changes brought on by COVID-19. Chairman of the Jacksonville Promise, Dr. Charles Sheaff says that the group had to cancel their annual fundraising dinner this year out of safety concerns: “A little more than a month ago, we canceled our plans for the dinner. It looks like that was prudent because the COVID-19 pandemic is accelerating at the moment, and it would just be increasingly dangerous to try to have some kind of a get together. The only option really was to do an online auction. Fortunately, Jess Spradlin has the facilities for that here in Jacksonville and has done a nice job of helping us coordinate putting this together.”
The online auction started Thursday on spradlinauction.com. Sheaff says that auction items are still coming in and likely will still come in during the week and a half that the auction is going on. Sheaff says there’s going to be a little something for everyone to bid on: “I think the most expensive item we have was the donation of several sets of silverware. We had 2 sterling silver sets of 12 place settings plus extra serving pieces that are valued at $6,500 retail at the moment. I think that with the price of silver being currently what it is, I would expect them to actually come close to that value in terms of the auction. We have a couple of ‘Taste of Jacksonville’ tasting baskets that most of the local restaurants have contributed gift certificates to at various dollar amounts apiece. I would expect that those would do well. I think people going online will find it interesting to peruse our items. There’s going to be about 70 items all together, but there may be more. They are still coming in.”
Sheaff says each auction will have a soft close, which means last second bids will place a 2 minute buffer at the end of each auction. Sheaff says that Jess Spradlin has said historically bids for items can rise between 30-50% in the final minutes.
Sheaff says that he hopes the auction can possibly help raise at least $10,000 or more to provide at least 2-3 more scholarships for their next cycle. Currently, the group gives $3,750 scholarships to incoming students towards tuition costs at local colleges in Jacksonville. Sheaff hopes the auction will help meet the personal giving goals for the Tracy Family Foundation’s Matching Grant to the program.
To view the items up for auction visit spradlinauction.com or visit Jacksonville Promise’s Facebook page for pictures and more information. The auction will run through October 31st. If you are interested in donating an item, contact Lynne Sheaff at 217-670-9371 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.