For the first time in its 55-year history, the Desert Foundation Auxiliary is canceling its debutante ball, depriving 26 young women from Scottsdale and a few neighboring communities of their formal coming-out moment.
Citing concerns over COVID-19 spread, the auxiliary executive board made the painful decision to scratch this December’s ball and just wait until next year.
“DFA held off making this difficult decision as long as we could hoping circumstances would improve and we would be able to have a beautiful ball, rich in tradition with the high standards to which we are known to celebrate our 26 debutantes and their families,” ball Co-Chair Jill Hegardt said.
“Given the risks with holding the ball this year, protecting the health of our debutantes, their families and friends and our DFA members was critical,” she added.
The auxiliary looks at the ball as a chance to recognize outstanding young women in Scottsdale, Paradise Valley and Carefree while raising money for charitable, scientific, literary and educational causes.
The ball is traditionally held in December and plans had been laid for the event to take place just days before Christmas at the Phoenician.
Hegardt and co-chair Jill Ennis broke the bad news to the debutantes and their families via a video.
They explained their concerns not only for the health of the families and the honorees but also for auxiliary members and vendors.
But they offered the 2020 debutantes a sliver of good news, saying they'd be combined with the 2021 group at next year's ball.
"Over the next year the creative, dedicated and talented DFA members will develop approaches to accommodate both the existing 2020 Debutantes and the future 2021 Debutantes to create a memorable ball.
The auxiliary even has a theme already: “Twice the Fun in 2021."