MEND Gala Wrap Up

Every well run fundraiser is well planned. Sometime in September the lights stay on for late Wednesday evening meetings at the MEND center on San Fernando.

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I have never been a “lady who lunches”, instead I am a “lady who grabs my kid from daycare, zooms through McDonald’s and rushes up a flight of stairs to kiss 25 faces before sitting down and starting kindergarten homework while the meeting starts”. It is not glamorous, or well executed, but it is how I roll.

How the Committee works

Despite how I perform as a Gala member, everyone else comes with pens and notepads and ideas. We have been doing this for seven years and tiny factions have formed. People gravitate to tasks like solicitation, public relations, auction items and volunteer recruitment the ways that bees pollinate their favorite flowers.

Bigger issues such as ticket prices, Board Member engagement, entertainment, production features and suggestions for growth are openly and freely debated.  There are laughs and sometimes there is wine.

Starting in December the meetings go from monthly to weekly.  We say MEND’s mission statement, discuss dollars, order favors (thanks Aimee who hated me in highschool but comes through for MEND and me every year at AB_Unlimited), bond over our love of Mr. Urbano from Universal Studios and get ready for the big event.

The day before the Gala we load up a large truck with supplies and I pretend that I know how to create lovely silent auction baskets while my daughter plays with the COO’s kid. MEND is a family friendly affair for staff and volunteers alike on the weekends.

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Family affair  – Mr Kelly, and Carrie’s son and his dancing lady friend. (I borrowed this photo from Facebook)

By 11 am on Gala day the committee is assembling table decorations, setting everything up, wandering around in curlers and eventually laughing in the ladies room as we fix zippers, share lipstick and discuss slips and shoes. (I gave my shoes to my friend Tarry who used to be a MEND employee and now volunteers.)  We are our  own special sorority. Sometimes silly, always serious about our goal.

Where does the money go?

This is the only big fundraiser MEND has all year.  MEND’S budget has two great needs: homeless services and Medical Dispensing.  MEND has a great Diabetic program with specialized food boxes, nursing, education and blood testing & Insulin. Insulin saves lives and it is hard for us to put a price-tag on it – but the manufacturers have managed to do that and MEND pays so that we can give the medication to clients in need.

Thank you Heritage Provider Network and other generous donors.

The funds raised at the GALA are the operations budget, the orphaned program funds for homeless services, showers, the Diabetic program and all the wonderful and needed programs that are not glamorous enough to attract other directed donations. Sure, there is food and music, and a great show on television combined with an awesome MC from ABC7 each year (This year we had Sid Garcia; in previous  years Danny Romero served) .

As committee members we are COMMITTED members to supporting this oasis of help in a desert of need.

How do we know if we have done our job well?

This is what happens when an Analyst is your Committee Chairperson.

Robin, Victoria,Steve and Susan watching the analysis
Every well run fundraiser is well planned. This is what happens when an Analysist is your Committee Chairperson.
Yasmin Serrato explains the success and areas of improvement to Pablo and Rita

If you look in the window you can see a reflection of a computer spreadsheet that is being projected from the television. Yasmin is walking us through comparisons to previous years and taking notes. We are always giving feedback.

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There is always magic in giving. Victoria gave Darla a wand from Universal Studios where our gala is held.

My youngest daughter has been on the committee for the past six years, and she has made some lifelong (6 years that is) friendships and connections that only enforce my love for MEND. The people behind the scenes are as passionately in love with the goals as the staff and day to day volunteers. Now we go through the long hiatus of waiting for Fall to begin again.

While we wait, think about joining us. We have food, and the occasional cookie, and so much fuzzy fun. If there is something you want to donate to our auctions, let me know because it is tax deductible.

@MENDPoverty and The Oscar Experience

Oscar Experience with MEND Poverty at Universal Studios from the http://www.oscars.org/awards/academyawards/oscars-experience/benefits/index.html 

Home : Awards : Academy Awards : Oscar® Experience: Benefits
Oscar® Experience: Benefits

1234Oscar® Experience: Benefits, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ grassroots program that enables charities to host glamorous fund-raising parties on Oscar Sunday, will kick off its 20th year in 2013.

On Sunday, February 24, 46 charities in as many locations will host official viewing parties during the 85th Academy Awards® ceremony. The events will feature the live broadcast of the Awards presentation, which will be televised by the ABC Television Network.

“Oscar Sunday is an event meant to be a shared with others. This network of fundraising parties across the nation is just that: a shared experience. These gatherings also represent the year-round philanthropic work the Academy does,” said Academy CEO Dawn Hudson. “This February we are thrilled to be able to celebrate the movies with fans nationwide while supporting charities around the country.”

Most parties are black-tie affairs, though some are less formal. Some partygoers dress up as famous couples, and some events feature limousine arrivals and red carpets complete with local celebrities, paparazzi and press interviews for arriving guests.

To set these parties apart from the thousands of other events taking place on Oscar Night®, each Oscar Experience: Benefits party receives from the Academy copies of the official commemorative poster and the official Oscar show program among other items.

Only one charity party in a given media market may participate in Oscar Experience: Benefits. Events are entirely produced by local nonprofit organizations, with the active participation of the local ABC-TV affiliate station.

Last year, 49 charities hosted viewing parties for the 84th Academy Awards, raising over $3.15 million, all of it remaining in local communities.