“You just dance the night away and know you're doing it for good.”
That’s how White Party co-founder Chrissy Jacobi describes the unforgettable Buffalo event. The White Party is an annual celebration that takes place every summer where guests dress in — you guessed it — all white! Proceeds from the party benefit Roswell Park’s Courage of Carly Fund, which fuels pediatric cancer research and provides quality-of-life programs to help brave kids fighting cancer and blood disorders.
“We really try to keep it high energy and fun. We want people to come back the next year and do it all over again and raise that money all over again. So that’s been our goal since day one,” said Chrissy.
That ‘day one’ was back in 2012 — and the first event looked a little different than it does today.
The White Party started as an idea between Chrissy and her longtime friend John Ticco. At the time, they were two young professionals looking for a way to give back.
Carly Collard Cottone, who inspired the Courage of Carly Fund, was one of John’s close family friends. Learn more about Carly’s story here.
“Looking back to that first event, a gift-gathering party, John kind of did it on a whim. He threw it together in about three weeks and gathered some gifts for the kids. It probably raised around $2,500. It’s definitely not an easy thing to do,” Chrissy explained. “But throughout the years we’ve got it to a well-oiled machine. I have a great team that helps me, and we were able to build it to what it is today.”
10 years of giving back.
Today, the event has grown into a summer highlight in Buffalo, bringing in celebrities like former NFL superstars Rob Gronkowski and Fred Jackson, and reality TV personality Jason Tartick. Most importantly, the White Party continues to raise critically needed funds — $70,000 in 2022 alone — for the Courage of Carly Fund.
Chrissy says in the time she’s been running this event, the cause has become very personal for her.
“I’ve met so many different people and families going through this, and it just it breaks my heart. I want to do whatever I can do to help and support them.”
With summer 2023 comes a major milestone for the White Party.
“This year is going to be a big one,” Chrissy explained. “It’s year 10. We’re going to try to make this the biggest, best White Party that we’ve had yet!”
Prior to starting her own fundraiser, Chrissy volunteered at existing Roswell Park events to get an idea of what running one would entail.
“That’s really how I got involved, and then I became so passionate about it. I wanted to do it on my own.”
She also stressed the importance of starting small, and not being afraid to get your toes wet. Everyone starts somewhere, and growth happens over time.
While throwing the White Party, or any Team Roswell event, is not a small feat, Chrissy says the most rewarding part is seeing where the funds go and how their efforts are helping kids and families during what could be the toughest time in their lives. She says if you’re dedicated and passionate about what you’re doing, you too can make a real difference.