News Releases

OICA’s Virtual Heroes Ball Presentation Named Finalist for National Award

January 12, 2021


Contact: Joe Dorman, CEO – Oklahoma Institute for Child Advocacy

Telephone: (405) 833-1117


OICA’s Virtual Heroes Ball Presentation Named Finalist for National Award

Event is One of Four Finalists

OKLAHOMA CITY – Like every other nonprofit organization, the Oklahoma Institute for Child Advocacy (OICA) was hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic during 2020. Every in-person event sponsored by the organization was in danger of cancellation, putting OICA’s funding in jeopardy. Creative steps were required to allow “the show to go on” with each project.

The year’s largest fundraising event, the annual Heroes Ball held each July, is not only vital for the organization, it is the event at which the state’s “Heroes of Child Advocacy” are showcased. In the midst of the pandemic, it was obvious the in-person event would not be possible.

“We had to think outside the box, and our team came up with a plan that worked even better than we had hoped,” said Joe Dorman, chief executive officer of the organization. “We shifted the Heroes Ball to be a virtual event, held online on the Zoom platform, with some creative modifications.”

With a webcast originating from the venue where the event was to be held, the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum, ticket holders were treated to programming that mirrored what would have happened in person, even down to a meal being served through a sponsorship from Postmates to have food delivered to ticketholders.  In addition, live and silent auctions were modified to continue during the virtual event.

Now, that innovative effort is recognized as a finalist for a national public relations award presented by Ragan Communications and PR Daily. The 2020 Video, Visual & Virtual Awards honors events in those three categories; the Heroes Ball is one of four finalists in the “Virtual Presentation” category.

“With guidance from our board of directors, the OICA staff worked over several months to ensure the Virtual Heroes Ball was a success,” Dorman said. “Very little was missed from the regular Heroes Ball: we had a keynote address with Tim the Security Guard from the Cowboy Museum, awards were presented, and silent and live auctions were conducted across the webcast.  In fact, guests were able to interact during the event even more than at the live function through the chat section on Zoom.”

The result, Dorman noted, was an OICA record number for ticket sales for the Heroes Ball, which normally sells out its “brick-and-mortar” venue. “More people were able to participate this year from the safety and comfort of their own homes, and many preferred that option.

“I am very proud of our board of directors and the staff who worked so hard to make the event a success during the months prior and the night of the event, and am thankful for this national recognition by being a finalist for this award.”

Finalists were announced Tuesday (Jan. 12); Ragan Communications will announce the winner in March.