The Art of the Party
At its first fund-raiser in seven years, the Incarnation Children's Center incorporated paintings and quotes from the children in its care.
The Incarnation Children's Center, a nursing facility for children and adolescents with HIV/AIDS, doesn't host many events. In fact, before Thursday night's benefit, the nonprofit hadn't held a major fund-raiser in seven years. Part of the difficulty is that the identities of the boys and girls in its care are protected, so to incorporate the children and highlight the importance of its mission, the nonprofit decked the Prince George Ballroom's hallway with artwork and quotes.
To produce the event and head up the fund-raising committee, the organization tapped one of its volunteers, John Ierardi of Event Energizers, who convinced other vendors and sponsors to donate their time and resources.
Gathered by Meagan O'Connell, the nonprofit's director of therapeutic services and volunteers, the quotes on the walls represented moments from the the kids' lives, experiences they had shared through support groups and programs at the center. Decorating a gallery-like area, the words accompanied some 30 paintings and drawings the children created in an art therapy program.
"It's for the guests to learn about the kids," said Ierardi. "The privacy of the children at the center is guarded and they can't be here, so this was a way for us to pull the personality of the kids into the design of the event."
To add a little lightness to the three-hour evening, the center also debuted a short documentary on the success of the center and created a silent auction and a raffle, which featured products donated by a number of supporters, including Alfred Dunhill and Marc Jacobs. Roving magician Josh Beckerman entertained guests, and Laurence Craig Catering served a steady supply of hors d'oeuvres throughout.
About 300 guests turned out for the benefit, which raised an estimated $42,000.
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