Shake Up Your Charity This March

Trade traditional galas for interesting events

Enjoy a gourmet menu dreamt up by Robert Irvine at the NH Food Bank's Steel Chef Challenge on March 6.

Photo by Susan Laughlin

With the weather still too dreary for outdoor fun and holiday philanthropy a distant memory, March is gala season in the nonprofit world. While you could go the black-tie route, we’d recommend having a bit more fun with your charity. Try these six events to support a good cause while having a good time.

12th Annual Heart of the Grape Wine Tasting Benefit
March 3, Concord

The pairing of charitable giving and wine tasting may not be novel, but that doesn’t make it any less enticing. This fundraiser for the Concord Hospital Breast Care Center offers three levels of participation: general admission, featuring two hours of tasting from more than 100 wines of the world; V.I.P., with general admission perks plus an extra hour of shorter lines and fancier tipples; and Grape Expectations, which features all of the above plus a hands-on lesson on the science of wine tasting. All that, and you’re giving to charity? Mark off your good deed for the year.

Candlelight Masquerade: Gala 2017
March 4, Bedford

If you just can’t resist an old-fashioned gala, then this one at the Manchester Country Club is a good choice. The evening of dinner and dancing (plus silent auction and raffle) benefits the Epilepsy Foundation New England, which supports patients and their families and pushes for research and advocacy for the disease.

Steel Chef Challenge
March 6, Manchester

Picture your favorite cooking shows. Seasoned chefs buzz around a kitchen stage competing to make the best dish. Lucky audience members chow down on world-class food. Superstar chefs appear. Now, imagine stepping into that world. This fundraiser for the NH Food Bank puts you in the middle of the action — sans an actual TV crew. A panel of live-cooking New Hampshire chefs provides the entertaining competition, event host and Food Network star Robert Irvine (pictured here) brings the star power, and you play the role of lucky spectator, complete with gourmet meal dreamt up by Irvine and his team. *New Hampshire Magazine is a proud sponsor of this event.

NHSPCA Doggie Paddle Plunge
March 11, New Castle

Thanks to those tear-jerking Sarah McLachlan commercials, we all know the SPCA is good at playing to our sympathies. For this annual benefit, the society’s local branch is playing to a different trait: our tolerance for cold. Cross your fingers for an early spring and take the plunge into the Atlantic to help the NHSPCA save some four-legged lives — or donate as a “virtual plunger” and stay warm and dry at home.

The CFS SleepOut 2017
March 24, Manchester

OK, so we can’t promise this is more fun than a traditional gala, but it will certainly get you closer to the cause you’re supporting. Participants in this fundraiser for Child and Family Services sleep outside in Manchester’s Stanton Plaza for a night to increase awareness of youth homelessness. The event has raised more than $300,000 for Child and Family Services in its first two years, and it’s poised to nearly double that in 2017. And if you’re not up for a night under the stars, then you can always donate to a SleepOut team.

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