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What’s the Idea?
What’s the Idea?

What’s a buzzworthy way for small-town colleges to raise scholarship funding from the local community?

By Laura Daily


For Wallace State Community College, the answer was the Little Black Dress Charity Bash, an annual ladies-only event for dressing up, catching up, dining, and networking. The only males invited: well-known civic and business leaders from Hanceville and Cullman, Alabama, who serve as waiters.

Bash proceeds ($8,000 in 2016) fund scholarships for women. To date, four female students have each received $1,250 per semester for a year.
Publicity surrounding the bash has also reinvigorated the alumni association, growing to 600 dues-paying members, up from only 30 five years ago.

"We see new faces every year, sometimes tables with three generations of women," says LaDonna Allen, alumni association coordinator. "I hear from students, ‘I can't wait until I'm 21 to come to Little Black Dress.' We're the biggest small event in town."

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About the Author Laura Daily

Laura Daily is a journalist based in Denver, Colorado. She co-founded the personal finance website Living on the Cheap and publishes the site Mile High on the Cheap.




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