Gulf Coast Bank annual auction raises more than $100,000 for non-profits

October 12, 2020

Editor's Note: This article by Allan Katz was originally published in the October 2020 issue of the Kenner Star.

The 13th Annual Gulf Coast Bank silent auction in August raised more than $100,000 to benefit 194 non-profit agencies that provide urgently needed services in the metro area, including Jefferson Parish and Kenner.

Gulf Coast Bank, founded in 1990, is a community bank serving Southeast Louisiana with other offices and services located in neighboring states.

This year’s auction featured more than 900 items donated by individuals and institutions that wanted to benefit the region’s outstanding non-profit agencies that provide urgently needed services to individuals and families in need.

“In some ways, this year’s auction was the most challenging and satisfying in the 13 years we’ve been doing this,” says Guy Williams, president and chief executive officer of Gulf Coast Bank and Trust Company. “We conducted the auction during the time of the coronavirus pandemic and at a time when a record number of hurricanes in the Gulf of Mexico were threatening our region. So, people understandably had a lot on their minds besides our auction. And yet, we had near-record participation which I think tells you something about the inherent compassion that is an integral part of our unique culture. The $100,000 we raised exceeded our most optimistic expectations.”

Sheila Englert, marketing director for the Gulf Coast Bank, is in her seventh year running the auction says, “Many of the non-profit agencies were unable to hold their annual galas because of concerns about the virus. Those galas are their primary fundraising events. So, the money we raised for them was a real Godsend at a time when many of these agencies are facing real fiscal crises.”

The 900 items in the auction were displayed at Gulf Coast Bank’s 19 branches and were shown online on the bank’s website. Auction prize donors determined the non-profit they wished to benefit, and the successful bidders made out a check directly to the designated non-profit agency.

Included in the 900 items in this year’s auction were memorabilia from LSU, the Saints, and the Pelicans. These included signed footballs, basketballs, and baseballs, along with autographed pictures. “Saints, LSU and Pelicans items are always among our most popular,” says Williams. “But because of the uncertainty surrounding sports because of the virus, we had fewer items than usual. In view of that it is all the more amazing that we were able to raise $100,000.”

Other popular items included fishing trips, weekend stays at condominiums in Mississippi, Florida and Alabama, and hotel stays in New Orleans.

Special luxury items included a gala Eat Fit dinner at Commander’s Restaurant chef’s table with fitness guru Molly Kimball. Another luxury item was a dinner prepared at the home of the winning bidder by the Café Hope staff. Café Hope is a non-profit that teaches and prepares at-risk youth for careers in the food industry.

The Gulf Coast’s 19 branches include one in Kenner at 3410 Williams Boulevard. The branch manager is Marcel Gonzalez who joined Gulf Coast in 2015. When Gulf Coast opened its doors in 1990, it began with $30 million in assets. Today, the bank has over $2 billion in assets and nearly 700 employees.

“We began the Gulf Coast Auction after Hurricane Katrina when the non-profits in our region were really struggling and people in general needed a lift with something that was pure fun,” says Williams. “Then and now, we think of Gulf Coast as a local community bank that cares deeply about the region and the people we serve.”

Allan Katz can be reached at allanlkatz@bellsouth.net.