Thursday, October 15, 2009

Plant With Purpose Celebrates its Most Successful Gala Ever!

By Kate McElhinney

Last week was a busy one for everyone here at Plant With Purpose as we geared up for the Planting Hope Gala. Our printers were launched into overdrive as they pumped out bidder numbers. Baskets were stuffed and primped for the silent auction. Our awesome volunteers pitched in with last minute details. Then, before you know it, lights, camera action! The big night had arrived.

Stinky socks aside, (sorry Aly, I couldn’t resist!) the evening was a huge success. We had over 300 guests enjoy the opportunity to learn more about Plant With Purpose and support its efforts on behalf of the rural poor around the world. Bill Menish, the auctioneer for the evening, kept the energy alive during the silent and live auctions, and the evening was truly filled with merriment as everyone celebrated Floresta / Plant With Purpose’s 25th anniversary.

I thought things would settle down this week, but the opposite has occurred! There is a current of excitement throughout the office that has carried over from Saturday night. The administrative department has been hard at work tallying up the final numbers from the evening, and with each calculation there have been new reasons to celebrate.

Now what you have all been waiting for…I am pleased to announce that our final total for the evening is $317,000!! This is a tremendous figure and more than we could have hoped for. And this is a huge jump from last year’s total, which was $262,228.

The most successful part of the evening was the Fund a Need auction. During this time, guests had the opportunity to learn more about our programs and their specific needs such as agro-forestry loans in the Dominican Republic, credit corporatives in Tanzania, and reforestation projects in Burundi. At the end of the Fund a Need auction, paddles flew up left and right as people committed to planting a forest of trees. It’s amazing that for only a dollar you can plant one tree…and at the gala we raised $13,000 to plant 13,000 trees!

Plant With Purpose sends out a big THANK YOU to everyone who participated in the Planting Hope gala! Whether it was through attendance, volunteering, giving or prayer, we want to thank you all for supporting this event. And a special thank you to Shirley Billingsley, the Committee Chair, whose dedication and attention to detail made a huge impact on the evening. Thank you, Shirley, for all your hard work!


  1. Way to go Kate and the entire Gala committee! Congratulations on such a great evening and such an amazing result!

  2. That's wonderful you guys!! I can't believe how much came in!?! AWESOME!


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