2022 Ice Ball Gala Raises More Than $930,000

by Kaye Phelps on September 12, 2022 in General,

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Texas’ 2022 Ice Ball Gala raised over $930,000 to create life-changing friendships between at-risk youth and caring adult mentors. Held at the JW Marriott in downtown Austin on Saturday, August 27, a crowd of over 750 guests attended the black-tie event to support Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Texas’ work.

Over 750 guests filled the ballroom at the JW Marriott in Austin for the 2022 Ice Ball. Photo Chris Caselli Photography

“What a beautiful evening,” said BBBS CEO, Dr. Leah Newkirk Meunier. “Ice Ball is one of the premier galas in the Austin community. Thanks to the amazing generosity of our donors, even more children will be able to experience mentoring relationships that can change their lives for the better, forever.”

Dr. Leah Meunier, CEO Big Brother Big Sisters of Central Texas. Photo Chris Caselli Photography

While there was much sparkle and glamour, the stars of the night were Little Brother AJ and his Big Brother Justin whose match story was presented during the evening’s Mission Moment. Their relationship reflected the importance, and purpose, of the entire event as it described the huge impact a Big Brother or Big Sister can make in the life of a child. In just a couple of years, AJ has changed from a shy child who rarely smiled, into a child who has many friends, enjoys cooking and soccer, is excelling in the classroom, and whose big smile could be seen, and felt throughout, the ballroom.

Prior to the main program, guests enjoyed taking pictures in front of the event’s signature ice sculpture, bidding on exclusive silent auction items, sampling signature cocktails, and participating in a Buried Treasure game for the chance to win a pave diamond circle necklace. For many, however, the evening’s greatest attraction was that of connecting with friends to make a life-changing difference for more kids in our community.

Texas Lifestyle Magazine was pleased to be a media sponsor for the 2022 Ice Ball. Wendi Baird, TLM editor in chief, and her husband Freddie Baird pose in front of the signature ice sculpture. Photo courtesy Wendi Baird.

During the program itself, guests enjoyed dinner, drinks, a rousing game of Heads or Tails, and a live auction, as well as the evening’s Mission Moment, and a Fund-A-Friendship donation drive. Emcee Quita Culpepper, an anchor with KVUE news, welcomed everyone, and introduced Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Texas’ CEO, Dr. Leah Newkirk Meunier, who recognized this year’s top sponsors, the Ice Ball Host Committee, and the 2022 Ice Ball event chairs, Sarah and Albert Swantner.

Quita Culpepper, KVUE Austin anchor, served as emcee for the Ice Ball. Photo Chris Caselli Photography

Auctioneer David Ackel inspired the crowd to bid on a number of exceptional live auction packages including a special tour of Sonoma wineries; a skiing adventure in Park City, Utah; a fishing expedition to Belize; and a special trip to the Amalfi coast.

Laura and Kyndel Bennett, longtime BBBS mentors, leaders, and benefactors, were honored with this year’s Ice VII award, which is presented to those who have had the most significant impact, and influence, on Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Texas. It was truly a magical night. One that will impact children’s lives for years to come.

Kyndel and Laura Bennett were honored with this year’s Ice VII award. Photo Chris Caselli Photography

“We are so thrilled at the incredible generosity and support Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Texas received at the 18th Annual Ice Ball,” said Emily Franke, BBBS VP of Development. “It was wonderful to be together again, and to have the opportunity to meet new friends and to connect with longtime supporters of our mission.”

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Texas serves nearly 800 children in Central Texas every day. For over 50 years, they’ve matched children, ages 6–16, with caring adult mentors who offer encouragement and support to each child. BBBS’ mission is to create and support one-to-one mentoring relationships that ignite the power and promise of youth. BBBS depends on donations to recruit, screen and train volunteers, and to provide on-going support for children, families, and volunteers as they build and sustain long-lasting relationships.


Cover photo Chris Caselli Photography