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An Affair to Remember - Putting the Fun in Fundraiser


DJ Clarke has attended her share of fundraisers over the years, but in her experience, few measure up to QLI’s “An Evening at the Fair.”

From black-tie to western-themed events, she’s made the rounds throughout the Metro learning about nonprofit organizations and their various causes.

But when she went to QLI’s event for the first time in September 2010, she was amazed at how unique and special it was compared to the others she’d attended. Along with her daughter, Amy Jacobberger, she loved the county fair theme, especially the human bowling and wine bottle toss booths, among others – and just the overall vibe of the Fair.

“Part of my job is to manage community affairs for my company, and in that capacity, I’ve had the opportunity to be involved by attending numerous fundraisers for different organizations. QLI’s Fair is among the best,” Clarke said. “It’s different, casual and fun. I loved the human bowling ball booth and the money grab, especially.

“More important than the fun, however, is knowing that the money raised goes to help those truly in need of support. That awareness (and the wheelchair obstacle course) makes the event truly enjoyable.”

What makes QLI’s “An Evening at the Fair” so special, you might wonder? Unlike more formal, structured fundraisers where you’re assigned to tables, QLI’s Fair allows fairgoers to come and go as they please while enjoying live entertainment, a large array of fair-themed activities and fun food.

No speakers, no schedules, no silent auctions and no suits and ties. All they need is a ticket to get in the door, and anyone 21 years of age and up can enjoy all the fun.

“I’ve been involved with many fundraising events over the years, and QLI’s Fair is by far one of the most special events I’m associated with,” said Lori Scott, who is honorary chair with husband, David, this year. “It’s such a laid-back atmosphere with so many games and activities that it’s impossible not to find something fun to do.”

The creation of the Fair stemmed from the vision of three QLI board members who wanted a different type of event that would promote the company as well as raise philanthropic support from the community to help fund its mission.

Their vision proved to be spot on, and the event, which happens every two years, continues to receive rave reviews, especially from the 650 attendees – almost a two-fold increase from the 350 in 2008 – who enjoyed fortune-telling, bull riding and other fun activities in 2010.

“This is an event where we want people to come and have a great time and hopefully learn a little about QLI,” said Terri McDonnell, QLI board member and past Fair Co-Chair (2010). “QLI is truly an Omaha jewel.”

Along with the Scott’s, who have been longtime supporters of QLI, Carly Turner and Jessica Turner are this year’s Fair Chairs and Jami Heideman is co-chair. They all promise the event to be unrivaled by others.

“There truly is nothing else like ‘An Evening at the Fair’ in Omaha,” Lori added.

This year’s Fair is Friday, Sept. 7, at the CenturyLink Center in downtown Omaha. Doors open at 6 p.m. and the event runs until 10 p.m. For ticket information, contact QLI at 402-573-3738 or JKarolski@QLIomaha.com or visit http://QLIFair.eventbrite.com to purchase tickets online.

About QLI:
Over the last two decades, the name QLI has become synonymous with the term “exceptionally unique” with everything they do. QLI has brought national attention to Omaha for its innovative post-hospital program for young adults who have suffered a brain injury or spinal cord injury. QLI also serves individuals with severe physical disabilities and is the only program of its kind in the United States. Due to QLI’s outstanding reputation for excellent care and unprecedented outcome results, the demand for QLI’s services only continue to rise, serving over 25 states in 2011 alone. QLI has been voted the #1 Best Place to Work in Omaha by its employees (in a Greater Omaha Chamber of Commerce annual survey) four times and sits on a $70 million, 60-acre college-style campus near 72nd and Sorenson Parkway (across from Immanuel Hospital). QLI is a noteworthy economic driver for the Metro, regularly hosting professionals from across the country.



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