Ball preparations begin a year in advance with the announcement of the next year’s co-chairs. The women plan and execute every detail of the elaborate event, from their fundraising focus for the year to invitations and table decorations. Preparations always include a meeting with Dr. Spetzler to discuss Barrow’s funding needs.
Funds raised by the ball come from individual gifts solicited by board members, gifts ranging from $5,000 to $1,000,000 and more, instead of from sponsorships and auctions, as is so often the case at charity events.
The Women’s Board has contributed significantly to advances at Barrow, especially in the areas of research and medical education. Of particular importance, notes Dr. Spetzler, is seed funding for new research.
“By supporting new research projects, the Women’s Board has enabled Barrow scientists to successfully apply for big grants from organizations like the National Institutes of Health,” he says. “If we hadn’t had that source of money, we wouldn’t have the large research enterprise we do today.”
Several Barrow centers received start-up funding from the Women’s Board, most notably the Barrow Brain Tumor Research Center and Barrow Center for Neuromodulation.
The Women’s Board has also invested heavily in medical education—from endowments used to recruit and retain neuroscience superstars to a scholarship fund that allows Barrow nurses to pursue further education.
The J.N. Harber Chair of Neurological Surgery, for instance, was established in 1983 by the Women’s Board, with funding from the J.N. Harber Foundation. The chair helped bring Dr. Spetzler to Barrow that year by providing support for his research—a big draw for the then 37-year-old rising star.
In addition to raising critical funds for Barrow, the Women’s Board has introduced countless community members to Barrow. An invitation to attend the Barrow Grand Ball is often the first step in a relationship with Barrow Neurological Institute.
One friend-raiser, which has been held in various forms through the years, is an educational event that invites guests to hear from Barrow specialists about the latest advances in neuroscience. This year’s event gave attendees an opportunity to learn about ground- breaking medical initiatives underway at Barrow.