ATWOOD — Everyone has a story. For Atwood’s Betty Swanson, her story is about giving back to a community that has given so much to her.
In the mid-1990s, Swanson was the first recipient of a Habitat for Humanity home in Warsaw. While receiving a home through Habitat is by no means a handout, as hundreds of hours of sweat equity along with regular mortgage payments come along with the program, Swanson understands the opportunity she was given nearly a quarter-century ago and is determined to continue paying it forward.
Swanson is the president of the Indiana Business Opportunity Partners, a non-profit group comprised of direct sales individuals from the area who meet monthly to cross train and share information, strategies and leads, as well as to enjoy each other’s company and shared passion. However, IBOP doesn’t limit itself to these inhouse gatherings. Two times each year, once in the spring and once in the fall, Swanson and her colleagues hold a charity bazaar and auction to benefit a local non-profit organization. The beneficiary of the fundraiser varies from event to event, but Swanson said they often look for organizations that aren’t as high profile in the community and would be positively impacted by the exposure and additional funding.
As Swanson explained, approximately 100 tickets are sold to each event which is highlighted by a “quarter paddle auction.” Additionally, the event includes a craft show and vendor bazaar that is open to the public. At the auction, each of the numerous items donated is funneled into one of four groups, depending on the item’s value. Once an item is put on the auction block, attendees have the option to “bid” on that item by placing one, two, three or four quarters, depending on the assigned value of the item, into a collection bin. Once everyone has the opportunity to deposit their marker, a numbered ping-pong ball is randomly selected from a rotating drum. Assuming the owner of the winning number placed an appropriate bid for that item, it becomes theirs to take home. Swanson emphasized it is on the honor system, since they have no way of documenting who did or did not bid on a particular item.
When deciding on the non-profit group to support, Swanson noted representatives from the chosen organization must be willing to put their own time and effort into the event, including ticket sales, collection of auction items and assistance leading up to and during the event. Earlier this month, the beneficiary of IBOP’s fall event, held at Baker Youth Club in Warsaw, was A Bridge to Hope, a Kosciusko County organization that helps those battling substance abuse, including opioids and other addictive drugs. During their May event, IBOP presented a check in the amount of $1,392.33 to 85 Hope, a faith-based, free medical clinic in Wabash County.
Swanson has been married to her husband, Troy, since 2004, at which point she sold the home she purchased through Habitat. She has two children and two stepchildren, as well as five grandchildren. She noted IBOP is always welcoming new members, although the group does not duplicate the companies each individual primarily represents. Additionally, IBOP is seeking a local non-profit group with which to partner for next spring’s fundraising event and encourages anyone with a nomination to contact her as soon as possible.
For further information, call Swanson at (574) 527-6005, or email her at [email protected]