The Night Ministry's Associate Board is once again preparing for the annual Night Lights Gala, our biggest event of the year that raises funds in support of The Night Ministry's work providing housing, healthcare, critical outreach, and other social services to Chicago's most vulnerable populations.
This year, we're setting our most ambitious fundraising goal yet. With help from our volunteers, donors, sponsors, and auction supporters, we plan to raise $125,000. Last year, we raised a total of $100,000 at Night Lights – the most we've raised since our first Night Lights event five years ago.
The 2017 Night Lights Gala was held on Thursday, November 9th at River Roast Chicago and was attended by 250 guests. Having grown The Night Ministry's network of supporters throughout Chicago, Northwestern Medicine was one of our Spotlight Sponsors, along with our Board of Directors, and our silent auction included great packages from Koval Distillery, Comedy Sportz Chicago, Virgin Hotels Chicago, Lady Gregory's, and others.
Like every year, we had an amazing time enjoying good food and drinks, great company, and looking back on how much our organization has positively affected our community. The most important part of the night however were the funds raised that benefited programs like The Night Ministry's Response-Ability Pregnant and Parenting Program (RAPPP), which received more than 40% of the funds from the event. Exceeding our expectations, the donations we collected made a huge impact on the lives of people experiencing homelessness in Chicago, including the young mothers served by RAPPP.
RAPPP, one of our many programs targeted to a specific underserved group, provides homeless women from the ages of 14-21 and their small children stable, short-term housing for 120 days. RAPPP gives these young women more than just a roof over their heads, providing a supportive and judgment free environment that focuses on personal growth, positive parenting skills, job training, and independence.
In Chicago, RAPPP plays a crucial role in supporting young mothers who more often than not have nowhere to go. In Chicago and Cook County, a third of young women experiencing homelessness are either expecting or parenting, and The Night Ministry's RAPPP is the only shelter in Chicago that reserves beds for teenage girls as young as 14. In the 2017 fiscal year, RAPPP provided housing for 42 homeless young women and 36 of their children. That's help that many of these women would not have otherwise received, but there is always more to do and more people to help.
For our 2018 Night Lights Gala, we aim to raise $125,000 to continue supporting our fellow Chicagoans, as well as improve and expand our much-needed services. If you would like to sponsor, attend, or donate to Night Lights, click here.
Learn more about The Night Ministry and our work serving the forgotten members of our community.