Last minute venue change adds complexity; fundraising and attendance increase
BALTIMORE, MD (May 7) – Baltimore’s philanthropic community gathered last Saturday night for the second annual Storybook Gala to benefit Mt. Washington Pediatric Hospital (MWPH). As events in Baltimore unfolded and the City curfew was enacted, the event, originally scheduled at a Baltimore City hotel, was moved to the Maryland State Fairgrounds four days prior. Hospital supporters showed their support with an increase in both attendance and event proceeds.
“Our hospital serves kids from the neighborhoods affected by the City demonstrations and we thought it was important to still hold the fundraiser,” said Sheldon Stein, president and CEO of the hospital. “It was very gratifying to see how our partners came out and supported us – from our amazing Storybook Gala committee and sponsors to our guests and tireless staff.”
The gala is a major fundraiser for the hospital, last year raising more than $100,000 (net) to benefit children receiving both inpatient and outpatient services. Using the Gala’s “fairy tale” theme, the MWPH staff and Union3 Event Productions transformed a 28,000 square foot exhibition space into Cinderella’s ball. Moving from a hotel venue to an open exhibition hall, required that the team hire lighting, pipe and drape and flooring vendors in addition to bringing on a caterer to serve more than 600 meals.
The event was chaired by Lauren Perlin whose daughter receives therapy services at MWPH and emceed by WBAL-TV reporter Lowell Melser.
“Every patient has a story to share and a wish to be granted,” said Lauren Perlin, Gala chair. “I know that we conveyed their stories at the Gala and, with the support of so many, granted their wishes.”
The Gala included a silent auction and a special “Fund-a-Wish” appeal, both of which saw 100% increases in dollars raised. The event also drew 50% more guests whose generosity will help support ongoing programs and services for medically-complex children. The majority of MWPH patients are on some form of medical assistance and these funds will help bridge the gap between insurance and out-of-pocket expenses.
Highlights of the Gala included a special welcome video from Carson Daly of NBC’s Today Show and The Voice, a video highlighting therapy dog “Yuba’s Journey” and the patients he meets, and a “MINIs for our MINIs” campaign where guests stuffed a MINI Cooper with more than 750 items of clothing for children with long-term stays at the hospital.
The Storybook Gala was presented by Quotient Inc. with additional support provided by D.F. Dent, the Eliasberg Family Foundation, Priority 1 Automotive Group, Len Stoler Automotive, Johns Hopkins Medicine, the University of Maryland Medical System, and others.
To view the Gala’s photo gallery, click here.