After Prom Grand Finale
Giving away a new car as an incentive for teens to stay until the end of their after-prom party.
Car accidents are the leading cause of death for teenagers in Virginia and prom is one of the deadliest nights for teens to be on the roads. For 31 years, the After Prom Grand Finale event has incentivized teens in Southwest VA to attend and stay until the end of their school’s after-prom party to win a new car. In 31 years, none of the participating schools have had an alcohol or drug-related accident on prom night. That’s over 85,000 lives saved! In 2019, more than 65% of teens (over 5,251) from 40 schools stayed until the end of their party. Six Qualifiers are chosen from each school. Of the Qualifiers who attended the 2019 APGF event, 74% attended and stayed until the end of their party to qualify for the car. The school parties do a great job of keeping teens entertained but because of APGF, they are more willing to stay all night and wind down instead of leaving early and getting into trouble. There is nothing like APGF anywhere else in the country!
Since changing owners in 2019, APGF lost its primary funding source and has scrambled to stay afloat. The car is donated but our overhead includes website maintenance, event materials, prizes and salary for our Coordinator (responsible for all fundraising, the website, school outreach/support, event & volunteer coordination, public relations and party/event evaluation). We won a State Farm Neighborhood Assist grant in 2019, which allowed our Coordinator to resume her contract and plan the (unfortunately cancelled) APGF 2020 event with an emphasis on eventual expansion. When COVID hit, schools closed, teen driving safety dropped in priority to the community and we lost crucial opportunities to fundraise, including a major gala. This $25K will pay for our Coordinator to study fundraising in this “new normal” so we can work toward sustainability and provide a safety net to run the 2021 event in the case we can't raise donations before then. We must not let this event end. It saves lives!
APGF is the only event of its kind in the country. In the 31 years of the APGF event, none of the participating schools have experienced the tragedy of a drug or alcohol-related car accident on prom night. We estimate that's over 85,000 lives saved! Before COVID hit, we were developing plans to dramatically increase fundraising and expand into Central VA in 2021 or 2022. At this point, our focus is once again on stabilizing the original Southwest VA event and making it a sustainable foundation. We haven’t expanded during our 31 years because we’ve only ever had enough money to focus on the Southwest VA event. Changing owners in 2019 made it harder, and the pandemic has made it near impossible to move forward. Our community has worked to provide these parties because they keep teens safe, and we know a major reason why is because of APGF. Proms will happen again and when they do, teens will still need to be kept safe. Every community should have the opportunity to participate in APGF!