Winged Foot Scholar-Athlete Foundation Presents 2020 Awards Virtually

The Winged Foot Scholar-Athlete Foundation recently announced the selection of First Baptist Academy Senior Malaya Melancon as the recipient of the 31 st annual Winged Foot Scholar-Athlete Award. Melancon, who has signed to play soccer at Florida Gulf Coast University, becomes the first Winged Foot winner in the private school’s history. The Winged Foot selection committee made its decision virtually and the award was presented to Melancon at a small ceremony since the annual awards banquet, scheduled for May 21 st , was cancelled due to the global coronavirus pandemic.

This year’s keynote speaker, ESPN college basketball analyst Jay Bilas, has agreed to return for next year.  “Congratulations to the graduating class of 2020, with special recognition to the Winged Foot Scholarship Foundation finalists,” Bilas said in a prepared statement. “This honor is reflective of your great character, leadership and accomplishment in athletics and academics. As excited as we are to celebrate your success, we are even more excited and inspired to celebrate all that you will accomplish in your very bright futures.”

The Winged Foot Scholar Athlete Award began in 1990 at the Collier Athletic Club as a vision to recognize the top senior scholar athlete from each of the high schools in Collier County. The first award was presented to Terry Dean of Barron Collier High School at a banquet featuring well-known sportscaster and Basketball Hall of Famer Dick Vitale. The Winged Foot Scholar-Athlete Award has become the most prestigious award a high school student can receive in Collier County.

In addition to Melancon, the list of 2020 Winged Foot award finalists included:
– Araceli Anzualda, Immokalee High School
– Jay Beshears, Community School of Naples
– Lauren Faremouth, Marco Island Academy
– Christian Garcia, Palmetto Ridge High School
– Isabella Garcia, Seacrest Country Day School
– Brady Gibson, Naples High School
– Samantha Hussey, St. John Neumann High School
– Andy Martinez, Golden Gate High School
– Justin Mattia, Gulf Coast High School
– Victoria Novotny, Lely High School
– Drew Powell, Barron Collier High School

Each of the public and private high schools nominates its best senior scholar-athlete. Finalists receive a $5,000 scholarship. The winner, selected by a panel of Winged Foot Committee members and local citizens, earns a stunning trophy and $10,000 scholarship. Major Sponsors of the Winged Foot Scholar-Athlete Awards include Barron Collier Jr. Foundation, The Lutgert Companies, Premier Sotheby’s International Realty, Gallagher Lutgert  Insurance, Grant Fridkin Pearson P.A., IBERIABANK and Dr. Charles Karpas. Planning already is underway for next year’s Winged Foot Scholar-Athlete Awards banquet to be held on Thursday, May 27, 2021.

The event typically begins with a cocktail reception at 5:30 p.m. with the dinner and awards presentation to follow around 7 p.m. Tickets will go on sale in the spring of 2021 for $275 per person. A number of  sponsorship opportunities will also be available. All proceeds from the banquet go toward the  scholarship program. To learn how you can support the program, call 239-262-7171.

SHAPING THE LIVES OF CHILDREN the Latchkey League leads the way

Myra Janco Daniels, Founder and Former CEO of the Philharmonic Center for the Arts, saw a challenge that she could not ignore…the 11,500+ children in Collier County who go home to an empty house after school. According to the Sheriff’s Department, this is the time when at-risk latchkey children are unsupervised, bored and are more likely to get into troubling situations.

In May 2013, Myra gathered together a small group of men and women to form the Latchkey League. The League’s mission is to support and provide educational, cultural and recreational activities to promote positive development for latchkey children’s future. The first goal was building a new youth center in cooperation with The Salvation Army. The League, together with a lead gift from Janet G. Cohen in memory of her daughter, supplied the $5 million required for the center and this was fulfilled in just three years. For a group of men and women who meet for once a month for six months a year plus their fundraisers,,.this was an astounding achievement. The Fran Cohen Youth Center was successfully completed and opened to children in April 2017.

The Center offered children a world of new experiences. The programs included dance, music, art, theater, pottery, culinary and communications classes. The Center also offers mentoring and tutoring assistance. Many of our League members are directly involved with the children and Bob Young does a wonderful job of coordinating our League volunteers with the Center programs.

Joan Eshkenazi, a well-known artist and potter, works with the children to create pottery on a generously donated wheel and kiln. Members Judy Stanley and Nancy Ryan are on hand to help with these projects. The children are proud of their creations and they have displayed them at our meetings.

The Center has a commercial kitchen where staff and volunteers work with the children helping them learn about basic food preparation and healthy diets. The computer lab is always busy, and we are grateful to member Hanna Hess, who matched a generous gift for the funding of a 3D specialty printer. There classes in music and the arts and the halls are filled with the sounds of happy, excited children. Our current League President, Judy Tedder, created a book nook in the Center where the children can read and borrow books. Book donations and funds for the purchase of books have been generous and very appreciated. League member Nancy Wallace spends time reading to the children.

The importance of reading is stressed and that are finding knowledge and pleasure in books. With the successful completion of the Fran Cohen Youth Center in April 2017, the League became incorporated in order to continue its support of The Salvation Army Center and offer support in the form of grants to other organizations that change latchkey children’s lives. One of their first grants was given to New Horizons of SW Florida to support their programs.
Since that time, other grants have been given to Golisano Children’s Hospital-Naples, Lighthouse-Naples, Pathway to Early Learning Education Center and FunTime Early Childhood Academy.

The major fundraisers of the League are the latchkey parties and events hosted by members in their homes, private clubs and public venues. Through our parties and private donations,the League has been able to raise over half million dollars. The League is run by an enthusiastic board of 12 people under the leadership of Judy Tedder and many volunteers who work very hard. Every member and many generous people in our community have contributed to our mission’s success. Latchkey children are a very important part of our community and our future.

We welcome you to join with us in this mission; and, if you are interested, please click on www.LatchkeyLeague.org for a membership form.

Cue the ‘Pomp and Circumstance’: CCPS Plans Multiple Paths for Graduates

By: Quinton Allen, CCPS Communications Specialist

BCH Jakob Johnson

“It would definitely be super awesome if we were able to walk across the stage,” Barron Collier High (BCH) senior Gene Michal Goin excitedly stated immediately after taking his cap and gown pictures on the morning of May 7. While social distancing, students returned to campus for a brief moment, dressed in cap and gown, to take their photos for the upcoming virtual commencement. These are emotional, exciting, and reflective times. “What I will miss the most are the pep rallies! They were always full of energy and always entertaining,” fellow classmate Javier Gutierrez added. BCH senior Brooke Goodman said, “I’ll definitely miss going to the baseball games my sophomore and junior years, they were so much fun!” Gene, Javier, and Brooke now look ahead as they – along with the rest of their Senior Class – transition from an unprecedented spring to a first-of-its-kind graduation.

Collier County Public Schools (CCPS) is pursuing and planning multiple ways to celebrate and honor the Class of 2020. The Covid-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic has forced a modification to the traditional commencement ceremony; however, all the District’s high schools will participate in their own virtual graduation program. These videos are a collaboration between CCPS and Naples-based production company Guerilla Media. On June 3, at a designated time for each high school, students, family members, and friends will hear every graduate’s name read aloud and see each student

Everglades HS Destany Vanleeuwen

dressed in their cap and gown. Viewers watching the virtual stream will experience musical performances and speeches from student leaders, CCPS  administrators, and School Board Members. “This virtual graduation allows everyone to be part of the graduation. I’m really happy about it,” says CCPS Superintendent, Dr. Kamela Patton. Students, parents, extended family, and guests will be able to view the Class of 2020 Virtual Commencement by going to collierschools.com/graduation2020. “It’s really great that the kids will have a real graduation with their photos shown,” Dr. Patton added.

GGHS Leydis Batista

CCPS hopes on July 24 to be able to reunite each high school’s entire graduating class together for an in-person ceremony if guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) allows for a group gathering. Dr. Patton and District leaders understand the importance of graduates walking across the stage and want to provide that experience. If the July event does not occur, each high school will offer the opportunity for the Class of 2020 to reunite and celebrate in December (or later depending on CDC guidelines at that time). Think of this as the Class of 2020’s first reunion! “These plans along with the production of the virtual graduation make something  that’s difficult, better for our kids,” Dr. Patton added.

“It was a blessing to come to school and laugh with my friends every day,” Gene said. He already misses the comradery. Rest  assured, the District will share details about these future commencement options using all of its communication methods, which is welcome news to the seniors. Just the thought of getting together again with her classmates made Brooke very  excited, “It would be so cool if we were allowed to walk on stage.” In a time of uncertainty, we know weeks of planning and video production will allow Commencement 2020 to connect students, family members, and familiar faces from students’ academic journey through CCPS. Javier added while standing outside of a place that became his home away from home, “I’ll miss the interaction with everyone, I really enjoyed making new friends!”

Immokalee HS Andrarena
Darius

Palmetto Ridge HS Morgan Gabauer

NHS Alyani Perez Serrano

Lorenzo Walker THS Marcanley Emmanuel

Lely HS Woody Lindor

 

FGCU nurses fight on the front lines of COVID-19

Keith Gibson interviews  Sherri Parmar, Class of 2015, the first Eagle to tell her emotional inside story

But of all those Eagles who serve however and wherever called, none are more critical than those toiling in the trenches: FGCU School of Nursing graduates and faculty fighting an invisible enemy in the intensive-care units of hospitals throughout the country, tending to the innocent victims of a worldwide war we never saw coming. They are heroes who never got into grassroots healthcare to necessarily become such, but like most heroes, they are ordinary people who became extraordinary when their names were called.

FGCU reached out to some of these healthcare heroes, even as they continue the fight. What they have seen, learned, overcome and evolved into through it all ranges from educational to emotional, from triumphant to tragic. In the coming weeks, we will showcase these Eagles individually, and ask them to describe what the places battling COVID-19 and the faces on the front lines really look like.

We begin with Sherri Parmar, a 27-year-old alum originally from Los Angeles who moved to Fort Myers in 2007 and began attending FGCU three years later. After earning a bachelor of science in nursing in 2015, she has continued her career in Southwest Florida as the Lee Health system’s Clinical Practice Council chair for nurses. Her specific job mandate of late: self-described “front-line, bedside nurse,” in the Medical Progressive Care Unit (MPCU) of the Gulf Coast Medical Center COVID-19 Unit in Fort Myers.

Keith FGCU: For you personally, what have been the toughest things to deal with on the job? Please be as open and sincere as you feel comfortable with.

SHERRI: My team and I have gone through blood, sweat and tears. I work on a unit that has been one of the most frequently modified units of our hospital, so change has been one of our strengths as a team.

Sherri in her personal protective equipment. “I added the raincoat to disinfect between patient encounters,” she said. “I always add a smile on my mask because it makes my patients smile! Thankfully, now I have a clip picture to wear over my PPE so they can see who I am.”

I have to ensure I am protected with personal protective equipment (PPE) prior to every encounter with my patients to prevent cross-contamination between myself and others.

Every day we walk into work, wondering are we OK on PPE? Thankfully, with our frequent updates that not every hospital around the nation gets, we know what Lee Health is doing in regards to PPE – which is supporting us and providing us with everything they have. We understand this is a national issue.

Patients who are dying have family who are unable to be there with them because they are stuck out of state. I had a COVID-19-positive patient who was dying from non-COVID-19-related problems and just wanted to be left alone … not even talk to his family. Talking to the family and letting them know that was difficult.

I have had situations where patients who were dying were able to FaceTime with their family before they passed. I have had situations where patients had to be emergently intubated and only had seconds to hear their loved ones’ voices. It is always hard to be with my patients at the end of life or at an emergent event. But doing whatever I can for them — whether it is holding their hand, speaking with them even if they can’t respond, speaking with the family, praying with them — their facial expressions, their body language tell me a lot, and I know that all the hardship was worth it,  to see them pass away as peacefully as they can.

It’s also tough knowing patients come in and are isolated to their room. I make it my mission to ensure they know they have my support, that they know I am there to help them in any way, that I am their voice, and that I am not afraid to come into their room to talk or provide care. I make it my mission to let them know that they are truly not alone as they fight this virus. Nurses are with the patient the longest during a shift, and it is up to us to be their healers mentally, physically and spiritually. This is how I practice every day on the front line.

Keith FGCU: Besides some of the positive outcomes you referred to previously, what other good developments have you seen?

SHERRI: Our teamwork and motivation to beat this virus became stronger than ever. Our support for each other both mentally and physically has been amazing. All of this has sincerely reflected on our patient care in a positive light, and to have exceptional patient care is to have an exceptional family unit of staff.

Our team identified that our COVID-19 patients are suffering with isolation and voicing their depression, so we simply made and brought in activity kits (crosswords, puzzles, brain teasers, pencils/paper) to occupy their minds, which several patients told us helped with their coping.

I have to expose myself to my dying COVID-19 patients longer because it’s the right thing to do, the human thing to do. No matter what, I am a nurse first, and my calling is to be with my patient through the good and the bad, to hold their hand, to cry with them, to laugh with them, to pray with them, to motivate them, and to find peace with them.

I have seen our Lee Health team post motivational stories, positive outcomes, pictures and videos of their staff and their teamwork.

I truly think we have the best community in the nation – to see our community unite and help each other in any way possible, whether it is making masks, donating food, or cheering the front-liners on, we can’t ever thank you enough. You all have made us sigh with relief, breathe a little easier, become more brave, feeling supported, and made us cry happy tears. I am so thankful to be a part of an amazing community.

Keith FGCU: No one in healthcare at any level – from medical-supply companies to healthcare workers — could have been totally prepared for a pandemic such as this. In that light, how did your education and experiences at FGCU help you deal with such a crisis?

SHERRI: I owe so much to my FGCU experience in helping me shape who I am. I had tough experiences throughout nursing school, and even with all of that, I learned to be positive and to focus on the fact that I am training to be where I want to be for the rest of my life – and that is in the service of others. I am so thankful for my FGCU professors, who I am still in contact with. I am so thankful to my FGCU comrades I have met through these years who have taught me the good and the bad. I continue to feel so connected with FGCU, especially because my unit has a lot of working FGCU alumni.

Learning how to look at the data, the evidence, and the logical science from my FGCU nursing courses has helped me fear less and be braver than what I would have normally felt. I am confident with the information FGCU taught me to prepare for the real world of nursing. I am confident that my clinicals helped me build the muscle memory that I needed to succeed in the floor.

FGCU has been a positive aspect in my life, and I know that my FGCU experiences helped me succeed at Lee Health as a Doc Coggins (Commitment to Excellence Award) recipient, a Clinical Practice Council chair, and a bedside nurse — all in 4 1/2 years. Thank you, FGCU, for giving me an opportunity I never dreamed of achieving. Caring and compassion is something that comes with me personally, but was strengthened at FGCU. Moments like seeing a dying man say thank you, a grown man cry happy tears that he’s going home, a hand to hold and grasp so tight, a family who understands what’s going on because of your explanations … moments like these mean the world to me.

No one was prepared for this pandemic, but it happened and continues to happen. I learned through my experiences that you just have to make the best of it and do the right thing.

In nursing school, my class and I went through one of our worst times when one of our fellow FGCU students (Brian Alexander) passed away unexpectedly. We united together even more, we honored him, and today, I am so proud to see an FGCU nursing scholarship in his honor, to see how he continues to help people. I continue to honor him, and the experiences that came from that have helped me become stronger and care for my patients and their families the best way possible.

Keith FGCU: Any final thoughts?

Sherri shown “taking a break to breathe out of my mask … right after running back and forth between two emergencies.”

SHERRI: Shout out to our amazing community, to the quarantined, to all front-liner staff, to our leaders, and to the rest of our nation. Keep up the strength and please know we are all in this together. Sincerely, a loud and proud nurse! Thank you for giving me this opportunity to share. I am a proud FGCU alumnus!

 

NCH Healthcare System Sends Coronavirus-Killing Robot to Disinfect Local Restaurants

NCH is sending one of its Xenex Germ-Zapping robots to several local restaurants as a way of saying “thank you” to those businesses who collectively donated thousands of meals to NCH staff during this pandemic. Yesterday, NCH sent it’s robot to Sails Restaurant and Bellini on Fifth with plans to disinfect Lake Park Diner, La Colmar, Bill’s Café, and New York Pizza & Pasta by the end of the week.

The Xenex Germ-Zapping robot has been proven effective in killing Coronavirus and other  germs and viruses that may linger on surfaces by using powerful UV light. NCH received 4 of the robots back in February as an added level of disinfection to cleaning protocols already in place at our hospitals to help further lower hospital acquired infection rates. With the coronavirus pandemic impacting the globe, the decision was made to acquire 5 more bringing the fleet of virus-killing machines to nine.

The expense for all nine robots was covered by the generous donations from members of the board of trustees and other community members. “When we think of the restaurant industry, we know they have their cleaning protocols in place. We know they’re following the guidelines to keep diners safe,” said Georgine Kruedelbach, RN, Director of NCH Infection Prevention. “The robots and the UV light give just an extra layer of protection to complement everything else.”

NCH is happy to be able to give back to these establishments who gave so much to us, as they begin to reopen their doors to the public. “We are incredibly thankful that the community rallied behind NCH during this pandemic, and now it’s our turn to thank our community,” said NCH President & CEO, Paul Hiltz. “We are thrilled to offer the services of our germ-zapping robots to help these restaurants demonstrate our shared commitment to keep our community safe.”

 About NCH Healthcare System

The NCH Healthcare System is a not-for-profit, multi-facility healthcare system located in Naples, Florida, and is a member of the Mayo Clinic Care Network. The System is more than just two hospitals (referred to as the NCH Baker Hospital and NCH North Naples Hospital) with a total of 713 beds. NCH is an alliance of 775 physicians and medical facilities in dozens of locations throughout Collier County and southwest Florida that offers nationally recognized, quality health care to our community.

Our mission is to help everyone live a longer, happier, healthier life.

For more information, visit www.NCHmd.org.

Collier County Public Schools Surpasses 750,000 Meals for Children

By: Quinton Allen, CCPS Communications Specialist

When the COVID-19 pandemic forced school campus closures, Collier County Public Schools (CCPS) created what would quickly become a statewide model for an online Continuous Learning Plan, while at the same time attending to the physical needs of our CCPS Family. More than 31,000 of the District’s 48,000 students qualify for free or reduced lunch. First-year CCPS Nutrition Services Director Elizabeth Alfaro recognized the nutritional needs of our community’s children did not simply disappear when campuses closed for health precautions. Along with two of her employees, Administrative Supervisors Kandy Messenger and Mary Scattergood, the trio developed a well-organized plan in just two days to distribute food to students who might otherwise go without proper nutrition with campuses being closed. “We found ourselves in a very unusual circumstance. It’s hard to prepare for something like this, but we had to do something,” Elizabeth said. The distribution of meals went out to CCPS students starting March 24, and it has been going strong ever since. By April, the number of school and mobile food sites had expanded to more than fifty. Students may pick up two meals per visit and six meals on Friday in order to get them through the weekend.

The nutrition services manager at Lely High School is Jennifer Keller. Jennifer now runs the distribution site at Manatee Middle School, where she and her staff of eight people prep and package meals up for hundreds of students every day. “The kids are always so excited when they come, especially on Fridays because that’s when they’ll get their meals for the weekend as well, and those meals usually come with an extra treat or two,” Jennifer explained while working at Manatee Middle one morning in April. In these hard times of losing jobs, families budgeting their money like never before, and halting what we once thought of as normal routines, the CCPS food distribution program has also given parents a great appreciation for what the District is doing. “It’s awesome that this program was put into place,” said Ruben, a father of two CCPS students. “My family and I really commend and appreciate the schools because it’s been really beneficial for us and many other families.”

The spring of 2020, will forever live in the minds of our Collier County Public Schools students and families. When students and staff went on spring break the week of March 9, they were supposed to return to their respective school on March 16.  Little did they know they would not enter a traditional classroom for the rest of the 2019-2020 school year.

CCPS plans to continue food distribution services Monday through Friday, from 9 am to 1 pm, until further notice. As of May 8, CCPS staff members have prepared and distributed 754,942 meals and counting. Additional information, including the locations of school and mobile food sites, can be found on collierschools.com/COVID19. Alfaro and her colleagues certainly see what they are providing every day as a necessary assist to our community. “We’re in survival mode now, we have to be there for our students.”

Virtual Fundraising Galas Explained by expert Scott Robertson

Are you experiencing difficulties sleeping as you worry about how the charity, that is near and dear to your heart, is going to be able to survive in our current economy? Are you secretly afraid your charity is going to close its door because a lack of fundraising? Are you intrigued by the concept of Virtual Fundraising Gala to replace your traditional fundraising event?

It’s no secret that the effects of COVID-19 is straggling the fundraising efforts of many Not For Profit (NPO) organizations. They are faced with the same questions;

  • How are we going to survive without the revenue and exposure of our traditional gala?
  • How are we going to meet payroll so we can retain our dedicated staff?
  • How much longer can we afford to pay rent for our office?Our staff is working from home, but we have a lease signed for 3 more years?
  • What does the future hold and how are we going to raise the money to keep our doors open?

As we all know staying in a concerned state of worry attempting to answer these questions and more….Is simply not healthy, nor does it benefit your charity.

The question NPO’s should be asking is “How to do turn our traditional fundraising gala into a virtual fundraising gala”.

Let’s be honest, before March, 2020, 99.9% of charitable organizations had never heard of a virtual fundraising gala but less hosted one. They have no idea what elements of a traditional fundraising gala can apply and what won’t. They are frightened, uninformed, and afraid to make a mistake. Their gala is their biggest annual fundraiser and primary tool for donor development……and now they are faced with cancellation. This is typically when “analysis paralysis” sets in as leaders of NPO struggle with how to proceed with a virtual fundraising gala.

You are not alone. Many NPO’s share the same problem, how do we raise funds for our charity during the COVID-19 pandemic. The hard reality is without fundraising, your organization may no longer exist in 12 months (or even sooner). Please know I feel your pain and anticipated this issue.

In late February 2020, when I realized that COVID-19 was going to totally interrupt our lives and how traditional gala fundraisers were held, I invested most of my waking hours into creating a recipe of success for hosting Virtual Fundraising Galas. I knew that if I could figure out how to orchestrate a fundraising gala, into a digital format where everyone could shelter in place, enjoy themselves, and join others in supporting their favorite charities, we could save many charities and allow them to continue to do what they do best, serve their clients.

Your supporters believe in your charity and we needed a creative solution to allow them to give and or bid on auction items to support your charity. Thus, the concept of the virtual gala was born.

As few people actually understand how to produce a virtual auction, I realized I need to assemble a team of talented/knowledgeable vendors to help NPO’s host a successful event.

These include:

  • Production team to digitally choregraph all the elements of a Virtual Gala and broadcast out to our supporters
  • Story telling videographer to present the mission and work of the your organization in a concise and entertaining format.
  • Talented Co-hosts to help the show flow, be emphatic, and entertaining. Virtual auctions need to be fun!
  • Script writers
  • Partnerships with personnel from mobile bidding platforms to keep the bidding and donating process running smoothly

This allows my clients to work with skilled experts, who have the best interests of the charity in mind and allows me to focus on being the onstage talent and the big picture of the event.

One obstacle, I discovered, is these skilled vendors did not know what was entailed to be successful at a virtual gala, but they were willing to learn, try new concepts, and offer suggestions. Because of their winning attitude, and willingness to pivot, we make an unstoppable team. We have become one of the top Virtual Gala teams in the nation and we have a strong record of success to back up this claim.

We were there at the beginning, pioneering fundraising techniques that are new standard across the country for virtual galas. This cutting-edge thinking is allowing NPO’s to thrive instead of throwing up their hands to cancel their event.

Is this information making sense and starting to sound good to you?

You are likely thinking, what strategies are the same for virtual galas and what are different.

Mission first. As with any fundraiser for a NPO the message of the mission must permeate the event and provide compelling reasons to support the cause. Philanthropists support the change they wish to see in the world. This is the same for both traditional and virtual galas

Entertaining personality to keep the audiences attention and engaged. Again, both critical elements for a virtual and traditional gala. As a fundraising auctioneer instead of my usual role of being a talented stage performer, I had to quickly pivot to being in front of the video camera. Your Virtual Gala is being broadcast onto your supporter’s Smart TV’s or computer laptops. Your supporters are accustomed to being entertained and engaged by these devices, thus your co-hosts must be entertaining and engaging as well. Once the interest of your viewers wain, you have lost your audience. At a traditional gala, to disengage with the event the person has to get up and leave, at a virtual gala, they simply have to turn off the device.

Auction items The same live and silent auction items that sell well at a traditional gala will sell well at your virtual gala.

Special Appeal/Paddle raise the presentation elements are the same for virtual or traditional, just if there is a plan for an “in person” pitch, this will need to be pre-recorded on video.

Engaging Co-host/Emcee. During a traditional gala, as the auctioneer, I sometimes work with an emcee and sometimes work solo, both ways are effective. At a virtual gala, due to the format, an engaging emcee is a must for playful banter, insight, and helping to keep the show flowing.

 So, as you can see, many of the same elements for a virtual or tradition fundraising gala remain the same, the difference the method of delivery.

Clients often ask “as a pioneer of virtual fundraising galas, what have you learned?

Having spent 100’s of hours of research and resolving potential issues for a Virtual Gala, I knew two important things that a Not for Profit would likely want to know before proceeding. User friendly for the charity and proven effectiveness

User friendly for the charity. During this period of uncertainly, I knew it was imperative the program we assembled, while still a lot of work for the charity, had to be intuitive for the charity in order to be successful.

Proven effectiveness. In order for the charity to agree to taking the risk and host a Virtual Gala I knew there had to be documented success this concept will work effectively. Most Virtual Galas, when executed properly have exceeded expectations and often surpass the amounts generated the previous year at a live traditional gala.

You may be thinking, this all sounds good but “how do we turn our traditional fundraising gala into a virtual fundraising gala?”

 This is where my team and I come in. If your charity is struggling, you need a solution now. We can help.

Are you interested in hosting a virtual fundraising gala? We are currently selecting organizations with who wish to work with and who we feel will be successful. Please let us know at info@thevoe.com if you wish to schedule a one on one phone conversation with me to discuss this opportunity.

 FAQ

We have never hosted a Virtual Gala previously; we don’t know how it will work for our organization.

This is why you hire a Fundraising Auctioneer that has experience in creating and hosting virtual galas.  Virtual Galas can be complicated and have many moving parts like a traditional gala. However the knowledge and experience required are completely different, and few if any committee members have this knowledge

Our advisory board is hesitant to ask our supporters to donate during COVID-19.

Board members, traditionally are afraid of making mistakes which they feel with reflect negatively on them. As a former board member at a NPO I understand, their concerns, but I find this excuse short sighted. The problem is, without fundraising, the charity may not survive. Board members are fearful of the “optics” of asking people for money, when they should be focused on enduring through these troubling times

We do not have the technology to host a virtual gala.

How inexpensively can we make this virtual event? Can we use an I-Phone, Facebook Live, and our CEO for this event?

Why do we need a virtual gala? Can we just put our auction items in an online auction and people will give?

Can we just ask our supporters to make donations to our organization and have the hassle and expense of a virtual gala?

Our supporters are typically over 60. Will they feel comfortable using their smart phone to bid?

What equipment will the supporters need to be able to participate?

Our regular fundraising auctioneer is nice and really funny, why shouldn’t we use them for our Virtual Gala?

Should all NPO’s have virtual gala?

Do all fundraising galas lend themselves to being successful virtual galas

What are the characteristics of an organization that will be successful with a Virtual Fundraising Gala

What is the downside of postponing our event until fall?

Can I realistically host an event in the fall and another in spring at our usual date?

What if I just cancel my event? What opportunities will I be missing?

You have the questions and we have the answers….

Are you interested in hosting a fundraising gala? We are currently selecting organizations with who wish to work with and who we feel will be successful. Please let us know if you wish to discuss this opportunity.