The National Moms Night Out event in the Triangle next week will be about more than fun swag bags, free stuff, prizes, yummy desserts and a reason to get out with your friends.
You'll also get a chance to help Nancy's Butterfly Fund, the non-profit formed last year in honor of Nancy Cooper. Cooper was a Cary mom of two little girls when she was found dead in July 2008. Her husband is charged with her murder.
Proceeds from the RDU Moms Night Out event, scheduled for 6:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. May 6 at the Embassy Suites in Cary, will go toward the group, which raises money to help domestic violence victims. Tickets are $20.
Diana Duncan, a good friend and neighbor of Cooper's and member of the group's advisory board, said the fund's first year was a big success. The group raised more than $60,000 through a variety of donations and events, including a fun run last July and a gala, where a silent auction pulled in about $16,000 alone.
The group had supported programs at Interact of Wake County, a non-profit resource for domestic violence victims. But the fundraising success of last year is allowing the group to extend its reach. Last month, it joined in a new partnership with the N.C. Coalition Against Domestic Violence, a statewide non-profit group that provides services to local domestic violence agencies, including Interact, and others.
"It's very rewarding to know that we are helping people," Duncan said. "And we have gotten some good stories about specific uses. [Cooper] was all about helping out her girlfriends and this is extending that concept."
Next week's Moms Night Out event is part of a series of events across the country, each organized by local moms. Molly Gold, an organizer of the local event, said the fund was an obvious charity to support. Many of the event's organizers knew Cooper or knew somebody who knew her.
"Any way you pointed, it pointed back to Nancy's Butterfly Fund," Gold told me.
"One thing about Nancy is that she knew a lot of people and a lot of people knew her. Certianly in both Apex and Cary, she had a lot of ties," Duncan said. "You wouldn't have six degrees of seperation with Nancy. You would have one or two."
For the fund's second year, Duncan said the group is still planning the annual fun run for July 10, which is scheduled around the anniversary of Cooper's death. They also are hoping for support from smaller events and fundraisers. Those might include low-key moms nights out where a group of moms might get together for bunco and then donate the winnings to the fund.
"We're definitely up for suggestions," Duncan said. "And we can always use more volunteer for the events when they occur. We're trying not to burn out. The need is not going to go away."