The Barney Ford Diversity Benefit is the primary event that raises diversity scholarship funds for the incoming Leeds MBA class. Organized by MBA students in support of MBA students, the fundraiser is a semi-formal night of live and silent auctions, food, and merriment for MBA students, alumni, faculty, staff and friends. The fellowship fund is named after Barney L. Ford (1822-1902), a former slave from South Carolina who escaped at age seventeen, taught himself how to read and write and achieved great business success. The scholarship fund seeks to honor his legacy while promoting diversity among the MBA student body.
In anticipation of this year’s Diversity Benefit, we chat with the organizers from this year and last year to hear their favorite memories and future plans. Current co-president Amsbry Ball explains why she chose to get involved with organizing the Barney Ford Diversity Benefit: “I was excited about taking on a leadership position that would have an impact on the diversity of our student body.” Amsbry’s co-president Ian McNabb affirms “One of my favorite parts of this program is the wide variety of people in my cohort and I want to make sure that future classes get to meet and work with a diverse group.”
Last year’s Barney Ford president Stephani Carlile reflects on her favorite moment from last year’s event: “My favorite moment was during the silent auction when Professor Wobbekind's "Wobbeque" was being auctioned off [the famous annual barbeque hosted by economics Professor Richard Wobbekind]. The 1st year class and 2nd year class were competing for the Wobbeque, Professor Wobbekind was egging us on to bid higher, and it was just really fun. And Professor Wobbekind wearing a masquerade mask was also a highlight.”
Last year’s VP of Donations, Kaly Trup discusses how the contributions from professors are always among the favorite auction items: “Many of them offer an invitation for students to join them for dinner, happy hour, wine tasting, etc. and these are usually hot ticket items. It's neat to see how willing they are to give back to the students.”
As far as what attendees can look forward to in new updates to the event, Ian shares that “We are transforming the event into a true night on the town. We have moved the event off-campus and will be hosting it at the Impact Hub in downtown Boulder.” Amsbry elaborates: “We will have many of the auction items that have come to be expected over the years, but we have included many new items that we are super excited about.”
In encouraging all current Leeds MBA students to attend, Ian explains: “It will be a great opportunity to spend quality time together in addition to getting to network with alumni and faculty.” Amsbry adds: “By attending you are supporting a higher level of diversity which provides a more rich classroom experience and can be helpful in program rankings. Plus, it will be fun!”
The Barney Ford Diversity Benefit will be held this April 7th at 7pm at Impact Hub. Tickets are $15 in advance and $20 at the door. See you there!