Most of the time, when people think of auctions they conjure up ideas of giant diamonds or flashy cars, or maybe antiques and collectibles. But what often gets forgotten is how auctions are regularly used to raise money for social causes both great and small.
Though charity auctions might not be what first comes to mind, it's very likely that you've participated in one at some point. Whether it was a silent auction at an event, a fundraiser for your kids' school or a local effort to help a neighbor in need, the opportunities for people to participate in auctions that raise money for charity are everywhere.
Raising money for victims of tragedies
Sadly, there are far too many tragic events that take place in our world, and few of them end up producing any sort of positive outcome that can help us cope with their aftermath. However, these occurrences do help to bring people together as they struggle to cope.
In response to the recent Navy Yard massacre in Washington, D.C., baseball's Washington Nationals held a charity auction to benefit victims through the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors.
As word of the shooting spread on Sept. 16, the Nationals quickly moved to cancel that evening's game, and when they made it up the next day, as part of a doubleheader, the players wore patriotic red, white and blue uniforms. Now, those uniforms, signed by the players who wore them, have been auctioned off to help provide comfort to those who were most directly affected by the the tragedy at the Navy Yard.
"I know there are a lot of hurt families out there," Nationals center fielder Denard Span told MLB.com, "and we're just going to try to do our part, hopefully in trying to help, but there's nothing we can do to replace the lives that were lost.
Celebrities help with charity auctions
Fortunately, not all charity auctions are held in response to such horrific events. Mostly, they are set up to aid people who need a little extra help realizing a life's dream or others who are in need of assistance. Sometimes those efforts are aided by celebrities, whose donations can bring in top dollar to benefit specific causes.
Recently, Kevin Costner put up some of his movie memorabilia for sale as part of an auction that was raising money to send Phillip Red Bird Frame, a Lakota interpreter living near Deadwood, S.D., – where the auction was held – to college to earn a degree in sociology.
Costner is familiar with the area, having filmed much of 1990's Dances With Wolves in nearby locales.
Another personal effects and movie memorabilia auction that has raised money for a good cause will be featuring inventory from the estate of Bob Hope, a man known during his lifetime for being among the most generous stars in Hollywood. One of his famous golf carts, along with about 600 other items, was recently auctioned off to benefit veterans and to help feed the hungry.
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