After months of planning and hours and hours of commitment to a goal of friend and fund raising, our gala was a giant success. We have spent over five decades supporting people with disabilities, as well as their families—which means there is always so much to celebrate! We firmly believe that disability is diversity. Having over 420 people show up to help us advocate for disability awareness warms our hearts, because when more people who know what we do, more people know about the meaningful work that is needed to care for others. Thank you to all who bought a ticket or a table, watched from home, sponsored the event, volunteered, spread the word, helped to set up and tear down, or simply told their friends about us somewhere along the line. Your advocacy is critical, and your time, talent and treasure are mind blowing!

So, what was our goal? This year we dreamed of reaching a stretch goal of $400K, and our thermometer went beyond that marker. Preliminary numbers are compiled, but donations keep trickling in, and we can say with confidence that we officially did it, WE EXCEEDED OUR GOAL. This was our single largest Gala total to date, and we couldn’t do it without all of YOU.

A few highlights:

The Mission video featured this year was a hit with everyone involved. We went with a documentary style video that showcased the work we do, the people who call Living Well home, and the staff and families who support them. It was a departure from past videos as it was longer and more story driven. And to our delight, there was not a person in that room not moved by the story of our Southcrest home. Take a moment to watch it yourself with this link. The entire time it played over 420 people put their drinks and forks down, and learned about Rob, Corbin, Katie and Leo. Please watch and share.

The Dreammaker intros also brilliantly showcased the people who dedicate so much of their time and energy to our mission of providing exceptional services to people living with disabilities. Self-advocate, Peggy Mehen; Community Partner Inver Hills Community College; Volunteers Secondhand Hounds; and Donors Walt and Mary Jo Roberts. We are grateful to all of them for their advocacy and encouragement.

Auction items ranged from $30 in gift cards for Edina Creamery (featured in the video) that sold for $60, to a Premium Silent Auction item that had so much momentum it went on the Live Auction and sold for a whopping $5,000! We had a wine pull, a booze wall, a putt-putt-win, and advocacy STARs as instant buys.

There were also live auction items including a Golf with a Pro package that sold for over $3000 and a Vikings Packers game on New Years Eve that went close to that, as well as a mission dinner hosted by long time Living Well employee, Shelley Novotny that sold for $1200. And that dinner sold twice! Oh, and there was a car, thanks to Walser Subaru St. Paul. Between the silent, premium, and live items, there really was something for everyone.

Once again, we had a VIP room for signature sponsors with special appetizers and wine. The room was full of revelers and people catching up and sharing stories. It was a delight to see so many active supporters having fun while supporting our mission.

And last, but not least, back by popular demand, the incredible music of Good For Gary. They seem to get better every year, and once again brought the FUN. Guests were dancing under the lights and colored flags and fully enjoyed a beautiful summer evening right up until the last note.

We had hundreds of people come celebrate, including several who call Living Well home and joined the festivities as greeters and guests. We laughed, cried, dined, and partied the night away. And we also celebrated the advocacy that allows us to meet our mission five decades after we first opened our doors. Having a disability does not hamper a vibrant social life, and nights like the Gala show the world that people really love a great party, regardless of ability!

Thank you from the Development Team and everyone at Living Well!

Thank you to all who helped us celebrate. We made our goal and couldn’t be more excited! If you are interested in helping us go even further above the goal, it’s not too late to donate. Use the links here to donate and watch the full program. It was a delight to gather with friends, old and new, and fully celebrate Living Well!





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