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UofL James Graham Brown Cancer Center discontinues The Julep Ball

Event has become too costly, executive director says

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (Nov. 19, 2014) — The University of Louisville James Graham Brown Cancer Center today announced it will discontinue The Julep Ball. The gala has been held annually on the evening before the Kentucky Derby since 2009.

julep ball
2013 Julep Ball

“While The Julep Ball has over the course of its history provided great visibility for the James Graham Brown Cancer Center and a wonderful venue for us to thank our supporters, the resources necessary to stage a quality event have grown too great to make it successful as a significant fund-raising effort,” said Michael Neumann, executive director of development for the cancer center.

“Maintaining the standards of quality that we have set for ourselves has required more and more resources, particularly manpower, each year,” Neumann said. “This means we have to divert those resources away from other projects and activities equally important to our mission to provide world-class clinical care, education and research in the field of cancer.”

The Julep Ball and its predecessor, the Mint Jubilee, have generated over $1.5 million over the past decade to support the work of the James Graham Brown Cancer Center, Neumann said. However, the resource requirements involved in attracting celebrity guests and providing top-quality entertainment, food and drink in a gala setting have continued to grow as other Derby Week events have mushroomed.

“When we began more than a decade ago, the field of Derby Week parties was quite limited,” he said. “We believe that our success encouraged and even helped give birth to other parties organized by individuals and groups who do not have the mission we do and with whom The Julep Ball now competes.”