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Fur Ball traditions reimagined for 2020

Posted on Saturday, November 07, 2020

In its 22nd year, a perennial favorite Richmond event goes on, in all new ways, to raise funds for sick and injured homeless pets in our care. We’ve reimagined our Fur Ball, presented by Dominion Energy, on November 7 with an online auction and other experiences allowing guests to support the cause from home.  

Rather than the familiar sold-out, black-tie event that brought 450 people together annually for cocktails, dinner and a live auction, we took a “choose your own adventure” approach to the 2020 Fur Ball, starting with moving the auction online with even more packages

Azula is one of the hundreds of kittens whose care was funded by last year’s Fur Ball.

When we began planning 11 months ago, we could not have imagined that this beloved event would be occurring anywhere other than in The Jefferson Hotel with our guests and their cherished pets filling every seat of the magnificent ballroom. But, of course, our vision for this year’s event—like so many things—had to morph and change as the year, and the global health crisis, unfolded.

The virtual nature of the event opens the opportunity to expand participation and support for the Cinderella Fund. This fund is devoted entirely to the veterinary treatment and rehabilitation of sick, injured and neonatal homeless pets, expenses for which we’ve budgeted $930,000 in the year ahead.  

The pets saved by the Cinderella Fund are our community’s most vulnerable, at-risk animals. It’s the generous support of last year’s Fur Ball guests that made it possible for us to treat more than 2,600 pets this year. Wherever you may be, you can have a role in guaranteeing a happy future to many more deserving animals by registering and bidding in this year’s auction.

The Richmond SPCA took in 3,621 dogs, cats, kittens and puppies between October 1, 2019 and September 30, 2020, and more than 80 percent were treated for sickness or injury before being adopted to lasting homes. The goal for the Fur Ball’s new virtual format is to raise $400,000.  

Online Auction

Our online Fur Ball auction, sponsored by BB&T, now Truist, is now open! There are approximately 70 packages with an emphasis on items and experiences that can be safely enjoyed during the pandemic:

  • Legend Brewing Company will feature one lucky pet on its cans for a special beer to be released in 2021, and the winning pet’s guardian will work with the brewers creating the beer.  
  • Weekend getaways and stays in private homes are offered in drivable destinations from Charleston to Wintergreen.  
  • Have a sought-after Peloton Bike+ indoor bicycle (current wait up to nine weeks) delivered two weeks after the auction thanks to the RVA Peloton Tribe.  
  • Street artist Nils Westergard will paint a mural of one pet on a wall of the Richmond SPCA’s humane center facing Rhoadmiller Street.  
  • Carreras Jewelers, Cowardin’s Jewelers and Lustre by Adolf have donated an array of fine jewelry.  
  • One pet will become the Richmond SPCA’s next mascot, to represent the organization through November 2021. 

Bidding will close at 10 p.m. on Saturday, November 7, and local auction winners may arrange pickup of items at the Richmond SPCA.

Choose your own Fur Ball adventure

Knowing that audiences are fatigued with virtual meetings, instead of offering a live virtual event, we’ll debut content across our website and social media on the night of November 7 to allow you to participate as you choose:  

  • Angel Pledge donations: Tax deductible contributions made directly to the Cinderella Fund can be made online, and matching gift challenges will roll out leading up to the event.  
  • 100-in-1 Raffle: Diamonds Direct is offering 100 chances to win a piece of jewelry valued at up to $5,000 with a video reveal of the winner at 5 p.m. November 7. (CLOSED!)
  • Cinderella Pet video: The story of Mr. T, a young paralyzed dog who overcame the odds thanks to the veterinary team at the Richmond SPCA will premiere at 7:15 p.m. November 7. 
  • Irongate Capitol Advisors Fur Ball Raffle: Each $5 ticket gives the chance to win one of five prizes, including a necklace from Schwarzschild Jewelers and a kid’s bike from Carytown Bicycle Company. Raffle ticket sales close Sunday, November 8 at 11:59 p.m. for the drawing to be held Monday, November 9 at noon.  
  • The London Company Parade of Pets: Anyone can participate by recording their own parade video and sharing to social media. Give pets the royal treatment with a red-carpet walk or stairway descent at home or outdoors and tag @RichmondSPCA using #FurBallParadeofPets. Sponsor parade pre-recorded and emceed by Greg McQuade of CBS 6 will premiere at 6:30 p.m. on November 7.  
  • Dinner sponsored by ColonialWebb: The Richmond SPCA partnered with Heritage and Chef Joe Sparatta to offer a limited number of at-home meals to be enjoyed as a prelude to the auction and other event components that will be online November 7. (SOLD OUT!)

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