By Alyssa Cullinan, Night Lights Chair
It goes without saying that 2020 was a remarkable year; and like most everyone else,The Night Ministry's Associate Board was required to adapt in new ways. Our full calendar of service, advocacy, and fundraising events was truncated, and meetings moved online. The human connection we've all experienced in serving The Night Ministry's mission became less tangible as we shifted our interactions to video calls from home.
Faced with the challenges of hosting a safe and engaging event during the pandemic, the Associate Board made the decision to move our annual Night Lights gala to a virtual format. As the chair of our Night Lights committee, I was both excited and terrified at the prospect of planning an entirely virtual fundraising event. At a time of year when the Night Lights committee is typically focused on securing a venue and vendors, we were now discussing how to encapsulate the thrill and engagement of our annual in-person event via a 60-minute online presentation.
The evening was safely hosted October 22, emceed by Associate Board members Jonathan Mayo, Carr Harkrader, and myself. We were thrilled to share presentations by Paul Hamann, President and CEO of The Night Ministry, Chintan Mehta, Associate Board President, and Kiantae Bowles,Chair of The Night Ministry Board of Directors. We also interviewed Sylvia Hibbard, Case Manager for The Night Ministry's Street Medicine program, focusing on the meaningful work her team has continued during the pandemic. If you missed the program live I'd encourage you to check out the recording here!
We are especially grateful for the support of our Board of Directors and the many community partners who contributed to this year's event through sponsorships and in-kind donations. With that support we were able to curate more than 60 silent auction packages and prizes for the event, and we fundraised $55,000 to benefit The Night Ministry Street Medicine program.
We also appreciate our dedicated staff members at The Night Ministry who made this event possible. Thank you to Heather Nash, Shante Harding, and Burke Patten for all your support.
This virtual event gave us the opportunity to focus on the mission of The Night Ministry from the comfort of our homes. And while I hope we're together in person for the next Night Lights gala, I'm grateful for the opportunity to have celebrated The Night Ministry together from my screen to yours.
We look forward to building on this year's momentum in 2021! Wishing you all a safe and healthy new year.