Just as neighbors might look forward all year to their summer block party or group BBQ, the lighting industry eagerly awaits the annual Goombay Bash in the Aon Ballroom at Navy Pier in Chicago. There, 1,000+ guests in the lighting and home décor industries, the medical and financial communities, philanthropic Chicago-area businesses, national celebrities and sports figures gather together in tropical attire united by a single cause: to raise money for cancer research.
Organized by The H Foundation and lighting retailer Hortons Home Lighting, the event has raised more than $8 million, which is donated in entirety to the Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center of Northwestern University as seed money for basic science cancer research projects that help them compete for additional government or private funding.
The Goombay Bash gets its name as a twist on the famous Caribbean cocktail, the Goombay Smash. Since it’s inaugural event in 2001, the fundraiser has grown in size and scope with crowds and supporters that top previous records each year.
This year’s Goombay Bash, held on July 29, raised $661,599 through its live auction on that night alone. Tabulations are not yet complete for monies raised through the comprehensive 22-page Silent Auction Catalog, which features countless opportunities under the categories of Entertainment, Sports, Dining & Wine, Health & Beauty, Home & Garden, and Specialty. The Home & Garden category included donations by Adesso, Uttermost, Hortons Home Lighting, and Innovations Lighting among others.
Supporting the fundraising efforts in other ways was SATCO Products, which matched $25,000 in donations from the auction. In addition, lighting members in attendance won the bid for several spectacular prizes. For example, Tom Lillie of Modern Forms/WAC won Tickets to a Chicago Blackhawks Home & Away 2-Game Package including two nights of luxury hotel accommodations. The One Week in Paradise: Sea-View Caribbean Villa for 6 People was won as a joint effort between manufacturers SATCO and Designers Fountain, as well as Kentucky-based retailer Brecher’s Lighting. The Wine & Dine Week for 8 People In the Heart of Tuscany was won by Lighting One. The Dream Accommodations for 10 People for a Week in Manzanillo, Mexico was won by SATCO, Lighting One, Brecher’s Lighting, and Horton’s Home Lighting. Other supporters of the event were Arnsberg Lighting, which donated the Ultimate Los Angeles/Beverly Hills/Hollywood Experience for 2; and Maria Scutaro and Terry Mullen, who donated a Weekend Getaway to New York City; and Bravo Business Media, which donated a 7-Night Getaway to Baja Point Luxury Villas in Los Cabos, Mexico; and Dallas Market Center, which donated hotel accommodations during Lightovation.
In a special ceremony during the event, on behalf of the lighting industry, Eric Jacobson of the American Lighting Association (ALA) and Laura Van Zeyl of the Dallas Market Center presented John Rot, President of Hortons Home Lighting and founder of the Goombay Bash/The H Foundation with a check for $50,000 as a donation to the cause.
Receiving special recognition with the Guiding Light Award was Lighting One’s Gregg Garafalo, who credited his late wife, Eileen, with inspiring him to continue the crusade to find a cure for the disease she valiantly fought. Eileen’s wish for everyone, he said, was to make sure we make the time to create a balance in life between our work and personal lives.
Donations to the H Foundation & Goombay Bash are accepted all year long at the website: www.goombaybash.com. Next year the event will be held Saturday, July 27, 2019.