When Lynn Kyle arrived at the Lampion Center 16 years ago, the nonprofit organization needed a major fundraiser, she thought. As the new executive director, Kyle tapped the advice of her twin sister, Leslie Luebcke, a marketing specialist. From Luebcke’s mind came A Chocolate Affair, a long-running gala.
Kyle and Luebcke asked local restaurant leaders for desserts with an emphasis on chocolate. Five responded, including Kirby’s Private Dining owner Scott Schymik, who offered his Downtown location for the event. Today, the Chocolate Affair’s popularity has outgrown Kirby’s, and nearly 600 people arrive at the annual event held in the atrium of Old National Bank’s headquarters.
Restaurant owners’ commitment to share a dazzling array of rich desserts remains. On Feb. 5, Kyle expects around 10,000 chocolate pieces (roughly four per attendee) from 10 restaurants. The experience nets Lampion more than $60,000 every year, but it does more than raise funds, Kyle says. It spreads the message of the Lampion Center’s range of services such as family counseling, adoption programs, and crisis help — and when there’s dessert, people listen, Kyle learned from her sister Luebcke. Kyle says, “She knows what people like.”
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