The event, chaired by Laura Schulte, Wells Fargo & Co. president of Eastern regional banking, raised a record $191,000, which exceeded the goal of $175,000. In 10 years, the event has raised $1.07 million dollars.
The "Let Me Play" Luncheon was held at the Charlotte Convention Center, Oct. 24 and attracted many of Charlotte’s most accomplished female corporate and community leaders. The event, a brainchild of Charlotte 49ers Director of Athletics Judy Rose, is designed to mobilize influential women in the Charlotte area in support of women’s athletics and share with them the importance athletic participation can play in the development of young women.
"I wanted the attendees to understand the character building and leadership development skills that were taking place while student-athletes were preparing for their athletic and academic endeavors," said Rose. "I want them to know that we’re preparing young women to be tomorrow’s leaders."
The list of past chairs, many of whom were in attendance, includes Mary Lou Babb, Betty Chafin Rash, Pat Rodgers, Dale Halton, Kelly Chopus, Felicia Hall Allen, Natalie English, Lisa Lewis Dubois, Samara Foxx, Ruth Shaw and Cathy Bessant.
"We all know that life is hard and can throw us for a loop," 2013 Chair Schulte told the crowd. "Sports help build character and develop perseverance, endurance and help us all gain an appreciation for operating as a team."
Charlotte 49ers track and field standout Briauna Jones, a member of the 49ers 4x100 relay team that reached the NCAA National Championships, spoke on behalf of the 49ers student-athletes.
"I feel accomplished to have worked my way to the top, but I feel even more blessed that there are women like you who believe that our hard work is worth investing in," she said. "On behalf of all the female student-athletes here at Charlotte, I want to express my gratitude to all of you."
The event was sponsored by Bank of America, Wells Fargo, PNC Bank, the Mariam and Robert Hayes Charitable Trust, Rodgers Builders, OrthoCarolina, Balfour Beatty Construction, Edifice, Coca-Cola Bottling Company Consolidated, Novant Health, Piedmont Natural Gas, Foundation for the Carolinas, KPMG, Deloitte and Touche, Robinson Bradshaw & Hinson, Charlotte Knights, Charlotte Bobcats, Charlotte Motor Speedway, Carolina Panthers
The Let Me Play Luncheon is one of three major fundraisers hosted by the Athletic Foundation each year. In the spring, the 49ers host the 49er Club Golf Outing and the Great Gold Rush Auction.