A batch of 500 cookies were auctioned off at a stunning $75,000 to benefit the Boys & Girls Club of Dundee Township. Barbara Ferguson dropped off her home-baked cookies Friday at Otto Engineering in Carpentersville. President and CEO Tom Roeser made the winning bid at the club’s annual masquerade ball last month.
The cookies — which come out to about $150 each — are simply worth it, Roeser said with a glint in his eyes. “They are that good,” he said. “My favorites are coconut, peanut butter and the bourbon balls.” But anyone who knows Roeser also knows it’s all about the businessman’s commitment to the betterment of local youths, said Ferguson, who serves alongside Roeser on the club’s board. “It’s just wonderful what he did,” she said.
Boys & Girls Club of Dundee Township President and CEO Curt McReynolds agreed. “It’s phenomenal,” he said. The money will be used to fund programs at all eight club locations, seven at schools in Community Unit District 300 and one in Barrington Community Unit School District 220, McReynolds said. The club allocates 86 cents of every dollar to programming, he said. “We are very proud of that,” he said. Specialized, unique programs include the Blue Voices Choir and “Money Island,” a financial literacy program in partnership with First American Bank, McReynolds said. Last year, the club numbered 1,477 members, plus another 350 through sports and summer programs.
Otto Engineering was the high bidder for cookies last year with $20,000, which was matched by K40 Electronics in Elgin, netting the club a combined $40,000, Ferguson said. Because of the magnitude of this year’s gift, Ferguson also baked an almond pound cake and a special gingerbread house that says “Otto.”
The bidding this year started around $1,000, with several employees of Otto Engineering helping drive up the price. “I was going to let them pay, but in the end I had to have the cookies,” Roeser joked.
The Boys & Girls Club provides priceless growth opportunities to Carpentersville youths, he said. “It’s an investment in the future,” he said. “It sounds very banal to say that, but if these kids don’t get a future, we won’t ever get it.”
Ferguson said she almost can’t believe her cookies have become such superstars in a tradition started about 12 years ago. “Nobody really wants to bake at Christmastime (because) they get so busy with everything else, so I figured I would bake cookies,” she said. Watching the cookies increasingly fetch more and more money over the years has been mind-boggling, Ferguson said. “At one point it was $6,000 and I felt it was excessive, so I tried to stop it. But they told me, ‘Shut up, it’s for the good of the club!’ ” she said. “So now, I sit quietly and amazed.”