Spring is charity season at HBS. There are soir‚es for cancer, Harley rides for tsunami relief, and the traditional section charity auctions.
However, this year has brought us a unique personal story of incredible generosity. Avi Kremer (NI) has taken his struggle with ALS (Lou Gehrig’s) disease and turned it into a HBS community-wide fundraiser to support research for a cure.
When Avi began treatment for ALS last fall, he quickly became mindful of the people promoting awareness and raising funds to fight the illness. One of those people is the Boston Red Sox’s All-Star pitcher, Curt Schilling. On the recommendation of a friend, Avi decided to enlist Curt’s help in increasing ALS understanding at HBS and fundraising for research.
Avi remembers, “It all started from a simple idea. We knew Curt and Shonda Schilling are active supporters of ALS research, so we asked them to donate an item for our section charity event. When an autographed copy of the World Series edition of Sports Illustrated arrived, we thought we could probably raise more money if we offered it to the entire school via an online auction. Once we committed to building a website, we decided to ask the Red Sox, the Patriots, and the Celtics to donate as well and they did.”
Avi’s Section Chair, Senior Associate Dean Jan Hammond, tapped into the vast resources of the HBS network to answer the call. She assembled an impressive inventory of auction items that would make Sotheby’s green. A sampling of the offerings include a Tom Brady autographed football, owner box seats to a Red Sox game, courtside seats to a Celtics game, and even an all expense paid trip for two to Vegas.
Jan remarked, “I’ve been overwhelmed by the response of the Harvard community. HBS alums, staff, current and former HBS professors – even the Harvard Baseball organization – have been incredibly generous helping us collect donations. It’s at times like this that it’s truly apparent just how strong the sense of community here is and how deep the ties are among us.”
With a set of priceless items to auction, Avi’s section moved ever closer to their goal of raising $100,000 for ALS research. In honor of Curt Schilling’s initial donation and his personal dedication to help defeat the disease, they named their campaign Strikeout ALS.
Lane Walker, the Charity Auction Coordinator for NI commented, “We are absolutely committed to our objective. We voted to give all of our proceeds from both the online auction and our section charity event to ALS.”
David Oppenheim (NI), who designed the auction website added, “In order to truly have 100% of the money go to ALS research, we built www.auction.sectioni.com to eliminate auction and transaction fees.” The online auction ends on Monday, April 18th.
At the same time, in an appeal to the entire class of 2006, Avi asked many of the RC sections to chip in a portion of their section auction earnings. Avi admitted, “I presented the ALS charity to the other sections and I was amazed they selected it as a major beneficiary in each and every one I visited. You have to realize that all of the students who come to HBS want to make a difference in the world, but in their own way. Suddenly, I step in as a complete stranger and ask them to help find a cure for a disease they may not have even known about. What do you think they did? They put aside their personal preferences and voted to Strikeout ALS.”
NI would like to thank the following for their support: all of the MBA class of 2006, Pam Perskie MBA 2003, Rena Clark MBA 1990, Bob Scalise MBA 1989, Simon Sherwood MBA 1986, Steve Pagliuca MBA 1982, HBS Senior Associate Dean Jan Hammond, HBS Professor Emeritus James Cash, HBS Professor Emeritus Sam Hayes, HBS Professor Nitin Nohria, HBS Professor Frances Frei, Former HBS Professor Gary Loveman, Matt Hyde & Harvard Baseball, Tom Werner, Curt and Shonda Schilling, Kevin Millar, and Tom Brady.