If you ask Marc Backes, owner of Ozarks Entertainment, the key to a successful party, he’d tell you it’s good entertainment. And if donation dollars could talk, they’d tell you he’s right. Since his entertainment business began offering services in 2010, it has helped nonprofits raise more than $1 million.
Ozarks Entertainment provides DJ services, movie projectors, bingo games, casino set-ups (minus the slot machines) and photo booths for private parties and fundraisers alike. At some events, Ozarks Entertainment might provide all of its services at once. “We’re the draw for the fun night, but the nonprofit sets up different types of fundraising options around us, like silent and live auctions,” Backes says.
The business is best known for helping nonprofits host poker nights. Through its services, Ozarks Entertainment adds a memorable touch to successful events like the Sertoma Chili Cook-Off, Ozarks Beerfest Eve Charity Poker Tournament, Rock n’ Ribs and CASAblanca. The Missouri Sports Hall of Fame, Nixa Athletics and C.A.R.E. Animal Rescue are also on the list of happy clients, and the list keeps growing.
However, one of Ozarks Entertainment’s biggest annual charity events is a casino night for St. Elizabeth Ann Seaton School. On the signature night, Ozarks Entertainment transforms the ordinary event space into a casino fit for a night of wheeling and dealing. The company exchanges tables with fancy linen and extravagant centerpieces for classic green felt–lined poker tables adorned with chips. According to Backes, it’s an extremely successful event that raises $20,000 to $40,000 each year.
Backes says Ozarks Entertainment occasionally offers discounts for nonprofits on a case-by-case basis. “We work with nonprofits differently than we do with for-profit entities,” he adds. “I always want to give back. We can play a game, and we can have fun, but we can also do it and raise money for a good cause.”