- Jeff Ostrowski Palm Beach Post Staff Writer
The nonprofits that canceled events at the Mar-a-Lago Club expected their charity balls to raise more than $10 million during the 2017 season, and to draw some 6,000 deep-pocketed donors.
It’s difficult to pinpoint the precise financial fallout from the exodus of events from President Donald Trump’s winter White House. But the Chronicle of Philanthropy compiled numbers based on permits filed with the town of Palm Beach. In those documents, charities disclose their anticipated donations, costs and attendance.
Among the 23 charities that have said they’re leaving Mar-a-Lago, permits are available for 17 of them. For their events during the 2017 season, those charities said they expected to raise a combined $10.8 million, to spend $3.4 million to host the events and to draw attendance of 5,820.
The most lucrative events were hosted by the Dana Farber Cancer Institute and the American Friends of Magen David Adom, which expected to bring in $1.4 million each. The Dana Farber Cancer Institute said it raised more than $2 million at its 2016 ball.
The Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure expected to bring in $1.25 million at its 2017 gala.
The charities leaving Mar-a-Lago expected to bring in an average of $636,765, to spend an estimated $210,000 and to draw an average crowd of 342.
Among the charities that have said they’ll stay, a permit is available for only one. Achilles International said it expects to raise $200,000 at its event in November 2017. It expects to spend $40,000 to host the event and to draw 200 donors.
Charities began bailing from Trump’s venue after the president made multiple remarks that seemed to support the actions of white supremacists protesting the removal of a Confederate statue in Charlottesville, Va. One of the protesters drove his car into a crowd of counter-protesters, killing a woman.
It’s unclear exactly how the wave of cancellations might affect Mar-a-Lago’s bottom line. The permits don’t break out how much the charities expect to pay to Mar-a-Lago directly, and how much goes to outside vendors such as party planners and florists. Also unclear is whether the charities will forfeit deposits by holding events elsewhere.