Kansas City, Mo. – The coronovirus pandemic has challenged nonprofit organizations to think creatively in their fundraising efforts during a time when their services are in greater demand. For organizations like Hillcrest Transitional Housing, that has meant shifting in-person events to online platforms. The fruits of Hillcrest’s labor will be demonstrated with its 20th Annual Gala – virtual style – on Thursday, October 1 at 7 p.m. The event’s theme is, “Passing the Torch,” emphasizing Hillcrest’s effort to put the success of the fundraiser in the hands of its volunteers and donors.
“We work with our clients about the importance of resiliency, adapting to circumstances, and becoming better for the challenges they are presented unexpectedly,” said Tom Lally, Hillcrest President and CEO. “Adapting our fundraising efforts shows that we weave those principles into the very nature of our organization.”
Hillcrest’s gala has been the organization’s largest fundraiser for the past 20 years. Last year, the event yielded over $150,000 in support. Although it will be a different format from years past, this year’s virtual gala will still feature client success stories, entertainment, and an online auction. Individual tickets are complimentary; virtual table sponsorships are available and include additional perks. Hillcrest is also raising funds with a social media fundraiser and through merchandise sales.
Hillcrest provides transitional housing and other programs that combat homelessness by building the self-sufficiency of families. Its flagship program is a 90-day timeframe in which clients receive rent- and utility-free housing. In exchange for housing, clients agree to follow program guidelines, find and maintain full-time employment, attend life skills classes, participate in community living, and follow a budget plan.
“We are solving homelessness in Kansas City by addressing the root causes of a person’s homelessness and their whole life situation,” said Lally. “Our virtual gala participants are not just supporting a fundraising event; they are supporting the mission of Hillcrest and our ability to change lives.”
One of the lives changed by Hillcrest is Holly (last name withheld). When Holly came to Hillcrest, her life had many challenges. “I was consumed with tackling each new disaster in my life, without time to recover,” she said. “I worked all the time just to keep my head above water. For too many years we lived far below poverty level.”
Hillcrest provided Holly a chance to breathe with its 90-day transitional living program. Holly’s dedication and hard work, coupled with Hillcrest’s rigorous education program, provided the fresh start she needed to overcome homelessness. She graduated Hillcrest’s program and is thriving. She was promoted at her job; maintains her own apartment; and most importantly, is able to focus more on her role as a mother.
“Hillcrest gave [my son] his mom back, which he so desperately needed,” she said. “No amount of thank you’s could ever possibly be enough.”
Community businesses are rallying around Hillcrest and its fundraising efforts, with Data Systems International (DSI) leading the way. Other gala sponsors currently include Community America Credit Union, First Federal Bank of Kansas City, GEHA, Speaks Memorial Chapel, Kapke Willerth Attorneys at Law, Bordner Home Improvement, Creative Planning, Saint Luke’s East Hospital, Commerce Bank, Timothy Lutheran Ministries, Central Bank of the Midwest, and the family of Billy Truschke.
“Hillcrest’s effort to solve homelessness in our community is strengthened because of the support of our donors and volunteers,” said Lally.
For more information about Hillcrest’s virtual gala, to purchase tickets, or to become a business sponsor, visit hillcrestkc.org/gala.