By D. Channing Muller Posted October 28, 2011, 1:26 PM EDT
The American Kidney Fund returned to the Andrew W. Mellon Auditorium on Tuesday night for its third annual Hope Affair. Celebrating the organization's 40th anniversary, the gala experienced a rise in both corporate sponsors and attendees, with some 340 people coming out for the evening.
“We just kicked off a major campaign, Pair Up [with spokeswoman Laila Ali], so we’ve been focusing a lot of effort on that, which I think combined with the fact that it’s our anniversary helped bump us up from last year,” said the fund’s president and C.E.O., LaVarne Burton.
Amgen returned as a sponsor for the third year, this time donating $150,000 for the platinum sponsorship, two levels higher than last year. Additionally, 12 of the night's 20 sponsors returned, including American Renal Associates and U.S. Renal Care, which came back at higher levels that helped the Kidney Fund raise an estimated $730,000 from the evening.
Bravo! Events by Design worked with Hargrove Inc. to decorate the expansive main room of the auditorium. To separate the main space from its surrounding hallways, Hargrove suspended sheer white drape illuminated in blue between the columns around the perimeter of the room. The team used a mix of rectangular, square, and circular tables draped in either navy or silver linens and the same silver place settings throughout. Amaryllis created three different centerpiece arrangements mixing pink roses, carnations, and orchids with candles.
Fox 5 news anchor Shawn Yancy introduced the night’s speakers, who presented awards for the Nephrologist of the Year, Caregiver of the Year, Hero of Hope, and Calendar Kids Cover Artist—the latter of whom is suffering from kidney disease. The organization’s Celebrity Health Champion Laila Ali also spoke and shared video clips of her appearances on national news programs like Good Morning America and the Today show promoting the fund’s new Pair Up campaign that encourages women to raise money and awareness for kidney disease.