Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Big fundraising gala raises $1 million gross, $22.67 net

Organizers of Metro Hospital Trust’s annual gala dinner say last night’s event broke two records. First, it raised a record $1 million – nearly double last year’s take. And second, it netted the health care charity nearly $23.00 – up 50 per cent from last year’s net total.

More than 500 people bought tickets for the Vegas-themed gala at the Metro Convention centre, which always involves elaborate meals, entertainment and fun.

“This was one for the history books,” said Trust Chair Wayne Gluteon. “I can’t believe the generosity of the people of Metro. We asked them to give and they gave. We raised a million bucks!”

“And best of all, at the end of the day, we came away with enough money to buy a couple of nurses some coffee or something. This is what philanthropy is all about,” he said.

The gala’s Vegas theme involved charity blackjack and slot machine games as well as a Vegas-style dance show. The five course meal was made using the menu from top Vegas hotels. The accompanying silent auction involved more than 100 prizes of various kinds, including a hand carved canoe, a miniature goat, a trip for four to Vegas and free plumbing services for a year. Tickets cost $175 a person. Several large businesses bought whole tables for their clients and staff.

Ticket sales and donations raised $500,000. The silent auction raised almost as much. After expenses, the Trust netted $22.67.

“The people of Metro are so kind hearted. When we told them we needed to raise money for a new children’s wing at the hospital they lined up to help. They bought tickets. They put in bids at the silent auction,” said Gluteon. “But of course a huge gala like this costs money. You can’t get something from nothing.”

The event took almost six months to plan. The Trust had three people working full-time on the project. The elaborate meal, with imported Zebra meat and Peruvian Potatoes, cost nearly the entire ticket price. Gluteon said the entertainment was particularly expensive.

“We had several local artists and choirs volunteer their services, but we rejected them because it was too boring. We wanted something more exciting. Something that would draw a crowd. That’s when we hit on the idea of hiring a dance show from a real Vega hotel. At $97,000, it was a real steel,” he said.

The Trust says it will invest the $22.67 wisely, just as they did the more than $57.12 raised in the past three annual galas.