No black tie needed for `Phantom Ball'

Event: Baltimore Reads holds its ninth fund-raiser.

March 25, 2001|By Joy Green | Joy Green,SUN STAFF

Some civic groups raise money each year by throwing a lavish ball, complete with live music and formal attire.

The Phantom Ball is nothing like that.

The annual bash sponsored by the Baltimore Reads literacy organization - a fund-raiser that has brought in more than $500,000 in the past nine years - invites donors to purchase tickets and even tables for an imaginary event. They can contribute to a worthy cause, but avoid the obligation of attending a black-tie affair.

"People like the idea that they do not need to get dressed up and attend a traditional gala event," said Jim R. Williams, a former event chairman and co-creator of the ball.

And by not incurring the expense of an event, Baltimore Reads is able to use every dollar of the proceeds to support the child and adult learning projects that the group offers throughout the area.

It's a case of "doing good for nothing," said Rita Walters, the special events manager at Baltimore Reads.

More than $40,000 was donated last year by more than 130 donors, and organizers of the event hope to raise more than $50,000 this year.

"It's a great fund-raiser in which people feel really good about buying a ticket that's doing good," said Lily Kadonoff, director of development at Baltimore Reads. "A lot of people think the ball is the best event in town, because all money raised goes directly to programs."

The organization encourages potential donors to turn in their contributions by April 1, but will accept donations after that. Donation forms are available by calling the Baltimore Reads Phantom Ball Hotline, 443-418-8223, or by visiting the group's Web site, www. baltimorereads.org.

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