Are you ballgowns getting dusty? The tuxedo probably hasn't made it out of the closet in a few months, either. Our city is full of generosity, and with it, many fundraisers that draw together people to celebrate their causes have been challenging this year. As we all try to stay safe and keep our communities healthy, the galas and events we love are shuttered. Or are they?
While the fundraisers aren't inhabiting the grand halls and ballrooms, nonprofits and their missions are more important than ever. They have to be more creative to find ways to get their mission out there and raise desperately needed funds without in-person contact. And in many ways, they are succeeding.
One of the holiday season's most anticipated events has always been Holiday Mart, produced by the Junior League of Kansas City. Holiday Mart, a staple in Kansas City for 33 years, grew to attract nearly 20,000 people to shop during the four-day event. Holiday Mart has an excellent two-fold benefit--supporting local retailers and donating to the many great programs sponsored by the Junior League of Greater Kansas City.
Instead of canceling the event, Co-chairs Addie Layne says that their staff of 50 female volunteers reimagined it. Instead of strolling the aisles, shoppers can open a special box curated with items from favorite retailers. Not a box fan? Visit participating retailers online at the virtual market or buy a shopper rewards card to get great deals. They're even hosting two favorite events, Ladies Night In (virtually) and Pics with St. Nick (socially distanced).
While their creativity saves the spirit of the event, the hard facts are that a good portion of their fundraising comes from ticket sales. If past participants want to continue helping the Junior League's mission, a one-time donation of $10, which would be the regular cost of a ticket to Holiday Mart, will make a huge difference. Find out more ways to help at JLKC.org.
It's not just balls that have been canceled, though. Many organizations depend on road races for a substantial portion of their funding. The Liberty Hospital Foundation sponsors the annual Kyleigh's Gift Run and CandlelightRun/Walk to benefit the Kyleigh's Gift Fund with the Liberty Hospital Foundation. Kyleigh's Gift provides infant wellness education and resources and parental support for pregnancy and infant loss at Liberty Hospital. COVID-19 may prevent participants from physically running together, but they are still crossing the finish line for this important cause.
Instead of canceling, the event committee went to work on making this virtual event as much fun and as meaningful as possible. Race organizers provided each participant a 'DIY Event Kit' complete with sidewalk chalk, finish line tape, and noise-makers. Kid participants were given bubbles, temporary tattoos, and bouncy balls. Most importantly, a 'Wave of Light' candlelight resource, including candles and luminaries, was available to families who planned to hold a private candlelight ceremony.
Participants (some from as far away as Florida and New Orleans!) hit the streets on their own on October 10th to walk/run to support Kyleigh's Gift. If you'd like to learn more, please visit LibertyHospitalFoundation.org.
As we enter the giving season, it's more important than ever to support the nonprofits that help our friends and neighbors. Please search for your favorite causes and see what they virtually have in store for you!