The 11th annual Howard Memorial Hospital Foundation gala will be held Saturday, Feb. 27, and according to director Amelia Moorer, the event has something for everyone.
Working with a committee of employees from the hospital and The Giving Guild, a committee of community women who are interested in giving their time to help various fund-raising efforts, Moorer said the gala was definitely a group effort. “The Giving Guild helped with planning and obtaining sponsors. They were a big help at coming up with ideas. The HMH employees suggested the theme this year, and an Italian masquerade was their first pick. It’s a great theme because it sets up a perfect party: opulent decorations, fun activities, and a little bit of mystery!”
The gala will have mysterious elements throughout the evening, one example being a murder mystery. “A few people were concerned about the entertainment, but it’s not a typical mystery-dinner setup. It’s an added element of entertainment that guests can participate in if they wish. If they don’t, it’s okay. It’s a relaxed setting and there isn’t a need for a captive audience like some may be thinking. The buffet will be delicious, the crowd can still mill around, the music will be going—the casual atmosphere will still be there.”
Moorer said that the entertainment is there to give guests some options of activity and offers a little humor and fun to the evening. “There will be some photo opportunities that bring to mind the old movie ‘Weekend at Bernie’s.’”
Other mysterious elements include the raffle reveal wall. “We don’t want to reveal too much,” Moorer said, “but instead of a silent auction, the wall is simply a way to raise money for a good cause. Great items have been donated from various sponsors, and guests will almost feel like they’re playing, ‘what’s behind curtain number 1?’ There has been a huge effort to make sure this area really fits in with the theme. It’s a special part of the gala.” Moorer says the prizes will be shown on the HMH Facebook site a week or two before the gala in order to generate interest.
Sponsors not only fund the prizes, but the gala itself. Sponsorship is the main source of proceeds from the gala, and securing them is always a challenge, Moorer explains. “It’s definitely the most important part of the gala–my job even–because without them the Foundation wouldn’t have the funds it needs for the upcoming year. We have some individuals that sponsor every year while others change.”
Sponsors this year include Pioneer Health as a diamond Sponsor and two gold sponsors, Husqvarna and Arkansas Heart Hospital. Bronze sponsors include Diamond Bank, Red River Credit Union, Regions Bank, Arkansas Eye Surgery, Dr. and Mrs. John Hearnsberger, York Gary, Hagan Newkirk, Legato Healthcare Marketing, Welch, Couch and Company, Rich and Cartmill, TruBridge, and EmCare. There are also several ruby sponsors comprised of both financial donors and those who gave items for the raffle. All the sponsors are listed on an ad in this paper as well as on the hospital Facebook site.
While there will be some other subtle changes, like the setup of the room, the biggest change is the band. “Each year, we have great music and we didn’t want that to change. The hard part is trying to find a band that offers a style of music for everyone.” The committee’s solution was to select a professional DJ, complete with light show, from Little Rock for the music. “We are able
to select music to our exact specifications. Soft dinner music at first, then a mix of classics and modern standards, and finally the evening progresses to a more lively mix and personal requests…he brings over 94,000 songs so I think everyone should have something they like.”
With good music, good entertainment, and good food, the only thing missing is good company. “Our ultimate goal is to make sure everyone has a great time and that our fundraiser is a success. The only way that can happen is for people to come!”
Moorer explains that tickets can be purchased at the hospital or by calling 845-8006. “The most important thing to remember is that this is a fund-raiser,” Moorer adds. “Part of our proceeds this year will help pay for our new handicap accessible van. In November, we received a challenge grant for the van from the Kerr Foundation which means all funds received from them must be equally matched. The gala proceeds will help meet that goal.”
Any questions about the gala or the HMH Foundation can be addressed to Amelia Moorer or by going to the HMH Facebook page at www.facebook.com/howardmemorial.