Melanie & Parker Duffey

Melanie & Parker Duffey

Melanie & Parker Duffey

Why They Give: A Portrait of Foundation Donors

After being involved in the Wine, Women and Shoes event, Melanie and Parker Duffey began to look into how they could do more to raise funds for the EAMC Foundation Cancer Center Breast Health Fund.

Parker is president of Tailgate Guys, which he and his partner Michael Otwell started six years ago. With the success of the business, they were looking for a good cause to give back to the community.

Once they learned about the Foundation’s Breast Health Fund, they knew it was the perfect fit. Melanie’s grandmother had battled breast cancer, and they felt many of their clients had been touched by breast cancer in their families or friends.

During the month of October, they decided to offer a “Pink Out” upgrade to tailgate packages where customers who upgraded received pink cups, linens and banners. Tailgate Guys staff also wore pink shirts and caps. The Pink Out game was a huge success and occurred the Saturday following the Wine, Women and Shoes event, during the LSU game.

The one-day event raised over $10,000 for the Foundation’s Cancer Center Breast Health Fund.

Parker feels the Pink Out will be more successful this year, as many said they wish they had signed up for the special fundraiser. This year it will be listed in the initial pack information for their clients.

“Sometimes when you give to a cause,” says Melanie, “you are not sure where the money goes, but with the Foundation, we knew the money was going to help the community. Chances are someone we know could benefit from this.”

Parker has been a Shoe Guy at the Wine, Women and Shoes for two years, while Melanie, who teaches interior design at Auburn University, worked on the event design with Lisa van der Reijen. Tailgate Guys sister company, The Event Group, provided all of the rental items for the event.

“All of my interaction with the Foundation are so positive,” says Melanie, “and it is such a worthy cause. You can tell people at the Foundation are on a mission to care for people. I am impressed by the number of events they have on their calendar from the Think Pink Walk to Wine, Women and Shoes and other events. With Parker being in the event business, we understand that is a labor of love.”

“Looking back on the Pink Out,” adds Parker, “it is amazing the positive response to that, and I am really excited about how far it can go.”