Healing Garden Gala Thank You

Despite changing our annual in-person event to a virtual one due to COVID-19 safety concerns, the addition of our first-ever online auction, and a last-minute date change due to countywide fires, the Children’s Center 9th Annual Healing Garden Gala year was a huge success…. all because of you!

Our wonderful sponsors and donors came through with amazing generosity, and we are thrilled to share that we raised over $200,000 to support the ongoing work of Children’s Center —- THANK YOU!

An Amazing Auction: The scaled-down online auction had some great trips, activities, and unusual items. Several items were donated (and some were even handmade!) by members of the staff and their families.  One of our most sought-after items was the package with homemade cards by members of our assessment staff!  Other favorites included the ten wine packages comprised of wines from around our region and the three beach vacation packages that created mini bid wars. The auction was open for the week leading up to our event, and closed one hour after our virtual event ended.

A Delicious Dinner: To add to the fun of the evening, guests were invited to purchase a catered dinner to enjoy during the event. Each household received a delicious meal from Clackamas County caterers Two Chicks and a Rooster, plus a bottle of Pete’s Mountain 2018 Ceille’s Block Pinot Gris wine provided by Mike and Kristy Thayer, and finally mouthwatering individual cakes donated by Nothing Bundt Cakes.  What a treat!

A Fabulous Show: The Virtual Gala itself was held from 7 – 7:45 on the evening of November 18, and was attended by more 100 guests!  We were honored to have a number of elected officials join us including Oregon’s Attorney General, Ellen Rosenbaum; Metro Councilor Christine Lewis; County Commissioners Martha Schrader, Sonya Fischer, and Paul Savas; Milwaukie Mayor Mark Gamba; and finally schoolboard members Orlando Perez from North Clackamas School District and Chair Martha Speirs and Pamela White from Oregon City School District.

The evening was hosted by Johnna Wells, who has been with us for eight of our nine gala events. We kicked off with a word of welcome from long-time supporter and this year’s presenting sponsor, Ted Davis, who is the President and CEO of Airstream Adventures NW. We also heard from Marianne Cursetjee, the Children’s Center Board President. Rebecca Nickels, Interim ED thanked the board and staff for their hard work to make this event and the ongoing work of Children’s Center possible, and giving praise and acknowledgement of the team’s shared values of compassion, accountability, respect, and excellence.

As donations began, Pediatric Nurse Practitioner and Medical Assessment team member Gabe Peterson shared about how she came to Children’s Center. She said though her work dealing with child abuse can be heart wrenching, she simply loves working with the kids and the families who come to Children’s Center. “I can use my voice,” Gabe says passionately, “and I can use my knowledge to really help impact those families in a positive way and help them move onto recovery.”

Midway through the show, Johnna shared the amazing news that the Ford Family had was offering a surprise matching donation grant-allowing all gifts between $100 – $500 to be matched up to $20,000! It was incredible to see the flurry of donations pour in with generous donors wanting to have their gift doubled.

Musicians Madelyn and Mike Dorsey shared a breathtaking version of  Bless the Beasts and the Children while guests were treated to pictures of the children, grandchildren and beloved pets of the Children’s Center’s staff. Madelyn, who is originally from Canby shared,  “Tonight…I want to honor my parents and all the other adults in my life who made sure my child size world was as safe as it could be.” We’re so grateful to these two amazing musicians who for the last 10 years have been lead performers on famous cruise lines that around the world, for sharing their talents with us.

As the evening wound down, we took a look at several fabulous regional trips which would be available until 9pm and did a final “thank-you” to all who participated.  We did a special drawing among all auction participants, and congratulations to Linda Brecke who won a lovely wine package from Lomos Winery and Portland Wine Club! A special congratulations to Marie Napolitano who won the Central Oregon Raffle and Bend Vacation drawing that included a two-night stay at the Bend Riverhouse on the Deschutes.

To close the evening, host Johnna Wells gave another big “Thank-You” to our sponsors and everyone who participated and made the evening such a huge success:

Our special thanks to Johnna for hosting our event, the team at Raise Agent who helped us in our pivot to a virtual event, and to the AV Department for making us all look good!

If you missed our event on November 18 –  don’t worry, you can catch the recorded version of it now by clicking here or by clicking on the video below.

And of course, it is never too late to donate to the important work we do – click here to make a donation now.

Keep your eyes peeled for an announcement about our 10th Annual Healing Garden Gala, coming fall of 2021!







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