Friends Gala Raises Lots of "Gold" for American Family Children's Hospital
MADISON - The event was themed "Go for the Gold," but with more than $300,000 raised for the new American Family Children's Hospital, green seemed to be the color of the evening at the 2006 Friends of UW Hospital Clinics gala.
"It was a huge success," Friends of UWHC president Kim Bentz said of the Feb. 4 gala at the Monona Terrace Convention Center, which drew nearly 1,150 guests. "We met and surpassed all of our goals."
And thanks to a surprise announcement from American Family Insurance, the event's success is bound to continue. At the gala, American Family chairman and CEO Harvey Pierce and president and COO Dave Anderson announced that the company would match donations to the event and other gifts made by April 4 to the hospital's building fund, up to $1 million.
"As we near our fundraising goal to make this new hospital a reality, we want to encourage donors to use our matching opportunity to double their contribution," says Pierce.
Bentz called American Family's latest offer is "a wonderful gift" that will hopefully stimulate people to think about the power of their donation.
"We are dedicated to making the most out of this matching gift, and hopefully we'll take it to the $1 million mark," Bentz said.
The new hospital already bears American Family's name, after the company's generous $10 million gift kicked off the campaign to build the new $78 million facility. Under construction next to UW Hospital and Clinics, the world-class pediatric hospital is dedicated solely to the care and treatment of children and their families.
"Miracle on Ice" Guests
Speakers at the gala also included Mike Eruzione, team captain of the 1980 U.S. Olympic hockey team, with a special introduction by Olympic teammate Mark Johnson. Against incredible odds, the American team won the gold medal, defeating a formidable Russian program that had dominated the Olympics since 1964.
Made up of amateur college players, the U.S. program came together as a team to do what was considered impossible - win the gold medal.
On an evening themed "Go for the Gold," the team's "Miracle on Ice" story embodied the same spirit it takes to build a world class children's hospital - teamwork, excellence and the courage to dream big.
That message is not lost on the Friends of UWHC, says Bentz, who is proud of how much the Friends team has grown in the past few years - both in numbers and in the scope of its work. Five years ago, about 200 people attended the gala - and they were mostly friends and family of Friends members, Bentz said. In 2004, 950 people attended, representing a broad spectrum of the community.
This year's official number: 1,148.
"That was really exciting," Bentz said. "You walked into that room, and it was just a sea of people from all over the community. It just shows that people understand how much we need this hospital."
Date Published: 06/21/2007