Live Attendees and Virtual Guests Came Out in Droves in Support of Nonprofit Devoted to Ending Homelessness – One Family at a Time – During 30th Anniversary Celebration
Duluth, Ga., October 21, 2021 – Although the 30th Anniversary Celebration of Gwinnett County-based Rainbow Village will continue throughout the end of the year, the nonprofit with a mission to provide help, hope, housing and healing to families experiencing homelessness has already received the biggest anniversary gift imaginable. On the heels of an unprecedented year when Rainbow Village had to transform its annual “We Are Family” Benefit Gala to a virtual event due to COVID-19, there were a lot of unknowns heading into this year’s live Gala. However, in the weeks leading up to and the hours in which the event was held, Rainbow Village supporters showed up big time in support of the Duluth nonprofit – shattering all prior fundraising records and nearly doubling the totals from the last two Galas. By the end of an amazing evening at the Atlanta Athletic Club on October 16 graced by 300 attendees, the nonprofit had raised $492,000. In the hours that followed, an anonymous donor came forward to push Rainbow Village over the top with an $8,000 donation plus $30 in commemoration of the 30th anniversary. In total, $500,030 was raised in support of Rainbow Village’s vision and the families it serves.
Northside Hospital served as Rainbow Village’s 30th Anniversary Sponsor, and 28 individuals and corporations sponsored the 2021 Gala. By the end of the event, 300 bottles of wine on the Gala’s famed wine wall, 224 raffle tickets for a trip to Mexico, and all silent and live auction items were sold. 70 guests played heads or tails for a chance to win Delta airline tickets and 160 people supported the evening’s mission moment. A lesson learned from last year’s virtual event, supporters who could not attend the Gala were afforded an opportunity to be part of the celebration by taking part in the raffle and silent auction online.
Of course, the evening was not solely about fundraising. At the heart of it all was a celebration of Rainbow Village’s rich past over the last three decades and a hopeful look at the organization’s future. Among the evening’s esteemed guests was the family of the late Reverend Joel P. Hudson – the founding rector of Christ Episcopal Church, which served as the birthplace of Rainbow Village. Also in attendance was Rainbow Village’s very first donor, Josh Costell, a member of Christ Church who provided $25,000 to refurbish the house that became a part of the church’s outreach ministry – then known as Rainbow House. It wouldn’t have been a proper commemoration with out the presence of Reverend Nancy Yancey, who served as the CEO of Rainbow Village for 25 years.
Having passed away earlier this year at the age of ninety-one well-lived years, it was only natural to honor the memory of Reverend Hudson and his selflessness with a Humanitarian Award in his name. Designed to recognize the extraordinary contributions of individuals, corporations and other nonprofits who have made a profound impact on the lives of others, this year’s inaugural Joel P. Hudson Humanitarian Award recipients were Clyde and Sandra Strickland – who not only wholeheartedly support Rainbow Village, but also thirty-three other nonprofits that serve a multitude of causes.
“During my Gala speech this year, I paraphrased a quote from Corinthians in the Bible – ‘Some plant, some water, but God provides the increase,’” said Melanie Conner, CEO of Rainbow Village. “We had people in attendance who had a hand in planting the first seeds, those who watered those seeds to help bring our organization into existence, and those who continue to plant and water to ensure the continued health and growth of Rainbow Village. And God has truly supplied the increase. I love that our inaugural Joel P. Hudson Humanitarian Award went to The Stricklands, who are single-handedly changing the landscape of what helping others looks like. Each year, we’ll recognize a new recipient to keep the legacy of Reverend Hudson alive. There was an unbelievable amount of love in that room, and I will never be able to thank our sponsors, donors, volunteers, team members, prayer warriors, or corporate, faith and community partners enough for their amazing support. With the money raised that night, we will not only be able to continue to provide transformational programming and housing to the families we serve, but we will also be able to look to the future with great hope. I – for one – can’t wait to see what the next 30 years has in store for Rainbow Village.”
One of the most talked about elements of the evening was the event’s first-ever raffle, which featured a 7-night stay at a luxury home with house manager, personal chef, private pool, beach access and room enough for eight guests in Manzanilla, Mexico. The winning ticket went to Paige Havens, who was not in attendance and learned about her big win with a live phone call from the auctioneer.
Proceeds from ticket sales, live and silent auctions, raffle sales and direct donations will benefit Rainbow Village in support of its 2.5-acre campus with room enough to house up to thirty families. For anyone who wishes to have an impact on Rainbow Village and the families it serves beyond the Gala as it looks ahead to the NEXT 30 years – whether through direct monetary contributions or volunteering – please visit www.RainbowVillage.org.
About Rainbow Village: Established in 1991, Rainbow Village is a transformative 501(c)3 nonprofit program located in Duluth, GA that serves families that are currently experiencing homelessness. Our model provides safe housing, education, and community support systems that allow families to confidently embark on the journey to self-sufficiency and thrive beyond our village. To learn more about Rainbow Village, register as a volunteer or make a tax-deductible donation, visit www.rainbowvillage.org. To stay up-to-date on the latest Rainbow Village news, the nonprofit invites you to connect with them on social media, including Facebook @RainbowVillageInc, Instagram @rainbowvillageinc, Twitter @rainbowvillage1, and LinkedIn @rainbow-village-inc.