Whether you're a fixture in the club scene, a regular barfly, a live-music lover or something else completely, it's safe to say that Queen City nightlife offers something for everyone. There's no telling how your night will end, but one thing is for sure: your pockets will be lighter.
Imagine if you knew that the hit your bank account took on a night of debauchery contributed to something larger than your own hangover. That thought occurred to Jina T. O'Neill when she helped found Parties With A Cause in April of this year. Working as an event planner for Loft 1523, she wanted to put the same skills she was using to work for the community. "I wanted to find a way to take the side of me that enjoys event planning and put a cause behind it," she says, "and PWC has proven to be just the right thing."
Creative Loafing: Have you noticed any advantages or disadvantages to launching a new organization that's led by women?
Jina T. O'Neill: I think it actually does help us a bit that we're a group of women. I think people are definitely more open to sit down and talk to us about what we do. We've really received great reception; a lot of people are really willing to work with us. I don't know if it would be a major difference if we were men; I think it just takes away the intimidation of having a man in a suit sitting in front of you:
Were you always involved with charity work?
Growing up in Pittsburgh, I did a lot of volunteering: In high school I did a lot with tutoring at local schools, and some stuff with local senior citizens centers, going and keeping them company. In college I also did a lot of tutoring, and I volunteered with the Red Cross. When I moved to Charlotte, I wasn't really doing much volunteering. I don't think I always knew it was my passion; I fell into it and just thought "Wow, this makes sense." I've always been drawn to just about anything that involves helping others, but I'm really passionate about everything that involves children. .
Do you feel more fulfilled professionally now that you're working with PWC?
I think PWC came together at the perfect time. My hope is that our name is tied to some of the larger fundraisers that you see within Charlotte; I want to get our names out there and not just be seen as marketers or promoters but really a cause-worthy organization that throws social events. We're trying to go full speed ahead and make an impact, not only partnering with existing organizations, but supporting newer, smaller foundations that are just getting started. We hope that people will be more apt to come out to these events because there will be a good cause behind them.