Ben Bailey

A financial advisor with the Raymond James private client group, Ben Bailey is no stranger to turning just a few dollars into many. This month, the Dallas native and lifelong Arkansas Razorbacks fan is focusing his efforts on a volunteer project he holds dear: The Hat Club’s Crawfish Salute, an annual crawfish boil that benefits several local organizations. Bailey is in his third year of service to The Hat Club, and this marks his second consecutive year to chair the Crawfish Salute. Below, he shares more about The Hat Club and its upcoming fundraiser.

Soirée: Who is The Hat Club?

Ben Bailey: We are a group comprised purely of volunteers, with no paid staffers. I’m very proud when I look at the money we have raised on “overtime,” as nobody works for this group “full-time.” Our mission is simply to help very worthy local organizations raise money toward their great causes. There are so many great organizations that struggle on a yearly basis to make a difference, and that’s where we step in through one of the events we host.

Where do proceeds from The Crawfish Salute go?

This year our primary beneficiary is the UAMS Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, and the secondary beneficiary is the Little Rock Zoo. We are proud to partner once again with UAMS to raise money for their state-of-the-art NICU. As a father of two little girls, both the NICU and the Little Rock Zoo hit close to home for me.

Why a crawfish boil?

Crawfish boils are typically a lot of fun. [The Hat Club] was first set up to raise money for other charities with a good cause. Secondly, it was set up to raise money in a fun and non-traditional way. We don’t just market our events to the wealthy, or host black-tie affairs. Our events are set up to include people of all backgrounds. We want everyone to feel like they are able to come out and participate in a fun, upbeat event benefiting a great cause, no matter what donation they are able to give. In the past, we have had profound results, and they continue to improve each year. We are hoping to top years past with this year’s donation to both the UAMS NICU and the LR Zoo.

Tell us all about The Crawfish Salute.

The boil will be held from 5:30-9:30 p.m., Friday, May 16, at the River Market Pavilions. Tickets are $40 pre-sale and $50 at the door, and you can buy them online at HatClubLR.com. VIP tables and sponsorship opportunities are also available. As always, we will have a live band, a silent auction, our one-of-a-kind Crawtucky Derby and all the crawfish and refreshments you want. We will have Craig O’Neill as our host speaker. Sponsors include Raymond James, The Bailey Foundation, Bank of England, Crews and Associates, Medline, I-Realty and Gus’s Fried Chicken. Prepare yourselves for a full night of entertainment!