Illinois Students Unite to Unmask a Promising Future for Physical Therapy!
May 2017

Remember prom? That one magical night in high school, when girls in colorful gowns and boys in tuxedos would escape any troubles they had, head to the dance floor with classmates, and bask in making memories they would cherish for the rest of their lives.

Recreating that prom experience was the inspiration for the leadership of the IPTA Student Special Interest Group (SSIG) when planning this year’s Banquet to Benefit the Foundation for Physical Therapy.

IPTA’s annual banquet to benefit the Foundation first began in 2013, when student leaders came up with an idea to host a statewide fundraising event which provided a night of networking, raising funds for the Foundation, and connecting students from the various Illinois physical therapy programs. Oh, and to have fun, of course!

The banquet has become a tradition, with each new group of elected students bringing innovative ideas to the table.

This year’s theme was MASQUERADE: Unmasking a Promising Future for Physical Therapy.

Entirely student run, the leaders promoted the event to every school program within the state, collected sponsorships to help cut event costs, collected items to include in a silent auction, and invited alumni, family and friends of the physical therapy profession to attend.

Guests arrived at the MASQUERADE Banquet super dressed up for the theme complete with decorative and extravagant masks.  Not only did many look like they had just rolled off of the red carpet, some showcased their pop star alter ego by “breaking it down” on the dance floor. The DJ had tracks that kept the young professionals dancing all night, while some attendees enjoyed indulging in tasty appetizers and sharing a few laughs over drinks at the bar.

By the end of the evening, the students were proud to donate 100% of the event’s proceeds (close to $3,000) to the Foundation for Physical Therapy and award credit to 13 Illinois PT and PTA programs for their participation in the 2016-2017 VCU-Marquette Challenge,

If you are interested in setting up a fundraising event in your state, the Illinois SSIG leadership offers these “Steps for Success”:

Organize a committee. Find dedicated individuals who are willing to help with the planning and execution of the event.
Create a theme. Develop a theme or tagline for the event.
Set up a date, time, and place. Choose when the event will happen and at what time. Choose a venue most appropriate and within budget.
Connect with your state PT/PTA programs. Contact all of the physical therapy programs within the state and ask if they would like to participate, promote, or sponsor your event.
Contact the Foundation. The Foundation for Physical can provide fundraising events with support letters, planning guides, and pledge forms.
Gather Sponsorships and Donations. Contact employers, universities, suppliers, and friends of physical therapy to collect sponsorships and donations for the event — that will cut expense costs and increase your charitable donation.

Promote! Promote! Promote! Ways to promote your event can include: Social media, e-newsletters, posters, press releases, letters to every PT/PTA program within the state.

Mail in all final donations. After the event, send donations to the Foundation for Physical Therapy by the Challenge deadline. Be sure to credit each school for their individual amount raised.