Davis House fundraiser brings in over $100,000 for victims of child abuse

Davis House fundraiser brings in over $100,000 for victims of child abuse

Button Ball attendees bid enthusiastically during the “not-so-silent” auction on Saturday, March 3, 2018 / Photo by Brooke Wanser


The Davis House Child Advocacy Center held their annual fundraising event, the Button Ball, at the Factory at Franklin for the first year on Saturday evening.

Executive Director Marcus Stamps said this year’s event raised a net profit of over $100,000.

“We’ve never achieved that much,” Stamps said.

At the formal event, which included a wine mixer, dinner and dancing, the “not-so-silent” auction was one of the highlights, with attendees bidding against one another at a fast pace.

One auction item, a bottle of Pappy Van Winkle Family Reserve bourbon, aged for 15 years, sold for $2,000. Stamps said the bottle was donated from a board member’s private collection.

Artist Heidi Schwartz, who painted the event as it occurred, auctioned off the painting for $3,200, putting her paint-spattered, Stuart Weitzman heels up on the block for additional funds.

“Things like that are so critical to us being able to provide our services at no cost,” Stamps said of the impromptu offer. “We rely on the community to support us.”

The spirit of the auction, where people stood on their chairs to get the auctioneer’s attention, “It’s actually kind of unique to our event,” Stamps said. The Davis House board got the idea for the auction from a host who runs a nonprofit in Chattanooga.

Child abuse is a dark subject, Stamps said, one which has the tendency to bring people down.

“We do that [the auction] to bring the energy back up,” pointing out, “that’s purposely placed after we deliver the message.”

The keynote message this weekend was one of hope and support from childhood sexual abuse survivor Emily Tester.

“If I hadn’t have gone there, and it hadn’t been prosecuted, I can’t imagine who I would be,” she told the Franklin Home Page in an advance interview about her abuse.

Now 24, Tester is attending the University of Tennessee at Knoxville, studying for her master’s in clinical mental health counseling so she can support those who lived through similar situations.

The Davis House was formed from a county child advocacy task force in 1999 for the 21st judicial district, which includes Williamson, Hickman, Perry and Lewis counties. The center provides preventative training, legal, medical, and counseling services, as well as a source of support for the families of abused children, at no cost.

Several hundred people filled the Factory’s Liberty Hall for the Button Ball. / Photo by Brooke Wanser
Executive Director Marcus Stamps speaks to the audience. / Photo by Rob Pease
Artist Heidi Schwartz painted the event as it happened. / Photo by Rob Pease
Emily Tester greets an attendee after her moving testimonial. / Photo by Rob Pease
The “not-so-silent” auction was a big hit. / Photo by Rob Pease

About The Author

Brooke Wanser is the associate editor for the Franklin Home Page, and can be reached at brooke.wanser@homepagemediagroup.com. Follow her on Twitter at @BWanser_writes or @FranklinHomepg.

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