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The Northeastern Oklahoma A&M College (NEO) Development Foundation will host “An Evening at the Derby” for its 18th annual fundraiser on Thursday, Nov. 7 at 6:30 p.m., in the Calcagno Family Ballroom of the Bruce G. Carter Student Union on the NEO campus. Doors will open at 5:30 p.m. and individual tickets are available for $100 and can be purchased at the NEO Foundation Office in Dyer Hall.

The NEO Development Foundation raises money to provide scholarships to students and support the mission of the NEO Foundation. This year, the Foundation will distribute nearly $150,000 in scholarships, largely thanks to the proceeds from last year’s fundraising gala. “This year’s theme is sure to be a hit with our guests,” said Jennifer Walker, executive director of the NEO Development Foundation.  “We’ve even added a contest with great prizes for the best dressed Kentucky Derby attire.”

Each year, the NEO Foundation Gala raises funds for a special project. This year, the gala will raise funds for the NEO Agriculture Department to build an Agriculture Research Greenhouse at Synar Farm to support the recently established Agronomy Program. This year’s gala will again feature mobile bidding powered by GiveSmart. This technology allowed those who aren’t able to attend the gala a chance to bid on items in real time throughout the evening. Last year’s introduction of mobile bidding led to NEO setting a new silent auction record of $17,000, bringing the night’s auction total to nearly $70,000. “With the mobile bidding technology, guests will receive a text notification once they have been outbid,” added Walker. “This will allow guests the opportunity to mingle with friends and enjoy the entertainment without constantly getting up to check the bid sheets of items they are hoping to win.”

Businesses and supporters of the college have donated dozens of items for the auctions. Among the live auction items are 24 hours of NEO tuition, a Kentucky Derby vacation package, the original Centennial Painting of Shipley Hall by Jessica Stout, and a Traeger Grill just to name a few. Tickets to the event are $100 and must be purchased in advance. Table sponsorships are also available to accommodate area businesses and groups. For more information, or to purchase tickets, please call the NEO Development Foundation at (918) 540-6115.

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