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20/30 Club of Topeka

Making a Difference One Gala at a Time

Each August, for one night, a group of young men host one of Topeka’s most elegant and unforgettable events, raising hundreds of thousands of dollars for the children of Topeka and Shawnee County.

The 20/30 Gala and Auction is the signature event for Topeka’s 20/30 Club, a group of men in their twenties and thirties who share a passion for philanthropy and community service. Impressively, 100% of the net proceeds from the event are reinvested directly into aiding children and supporting local organizations dedicated to their welfare.

Founded in 1956, this social networking organization boasts 65 dedicated members united by a single mission: to support and uplift the community’s youngest and most vulnerable. Over the decades, the club has raised and donated over $4 million, embodying their guiding principle: "A man never stands so tall as when kneeling to help a child."

Raising Funds and Allocating Resources

The 20/30 Club’s fundraising strategy is a well-oiled machine, driven by the passion and dedication of its members. With funds raised from the gala, the club operates key outreach programs such as Coats for Kids and Christmas for Kids. 2024 Gala Co-Chairs Kevin Nincehelser and Alex Orel call the success of the annual fundraising gala a non-negotiable for them because of its benefit to children in the community.

“Without it, many may go without a warm coat during the winter, miss out on important medical care, sleep on a floor instead of a bed, lack the material or mental support they need in times of crisis, or simply miss out on the giving spirit of Christmas that so many of us take for granted.,” Orel says.

“Many of my most cherished memories in the 20/30 Club of Topeka are when we are picking out a new coat for a little boy or girl that they love, putting it on them, and zipping it up,” shares Nincehelser. “That moment, and the look on their face, is magical for each one of the thousands of children we’ve served. This simple act, repeated countless times over the years, continually reminds me and my fellow members of the profound impact of our efforts. It is moments like these that reinforce our dedication to the club’s mission: it’s all about the kids.”

Similarly, the Christmas for Kids program schedules shopping events, where local children’s service organizations transport children in need to stores, and club volunteers help them shop for essential items and gifts.

The Gala: A Premier Event

The annual 20/30 Gala and Auction is more than a conduit for creating those opportunities for local kids; it is also the premier gala of the year in Topeka and Shawnee County. Nearly one thousand of the community’s finest gather to celebrate, donate, and learn about the impact of their contributions over the past year while looking forward to what can be accomplished in the year ahead.

Planning the gala is no small feat. It is meticulously organized by a volunteer board of directors and at-large members, with assistance from event planning company, Along Came Abby.

“Seeing these young men come together to build a better tomorrow for Topeka is so heartwarming,” says Abby Wempe, owner of Along Came Abby. “Getting to elevate the experience for them and the donors is an added perk!”

The Privilege of Giving Back

The 20/30 Club of Topeka exemplifies the power of community-driven philanthropy. Through their annual gala, direct outreach programs, and ongoing volunteer efforts, they make a profound difference in the lives of local children.

“The members of the 20/30 Club of Topeka are fortunate for the small part we get to play in making the difference for those kids who need it most,” says Nincehelser. “This unwavering commitment is why our club and its fundraising are invaluable assets to Topeka.”

This year’s 20/30 Gala attendees will step back in time to the roaring ‘20s and into a speakeasy-themed scene at the Stormont Vail Events Center.

Live entertainment, 20s-era signature cocktails, pearls, feathers, and art deco are the order of business at the black-tie charity gala, where event planner, Abby Wempe, says surprises are in store.