Foundation gala transitions to virtual, opens to public

Photo courtesy SARAH JOHNSON

Behind the counter at Wheat State Wine Co., Union State Bank Winfield market president Cory Helmer and William Newton Healthcare Foundation director Annika Morris pre-record elements of the upcoming virtual gala benefiting William Newton Hospital.

Presented by Union State Bank, William Newton Healthcare Foundation will host its 13th annual fundraising event at 7 p.m. Oct. 10. To keep guests socially distanced, the virtual gala and benefit auction will be live streamed and utilize an online bidding platform.

The foundation has also opened ticket sales to the general public.

“Most years, this is a sold-out event,” William Newton Healthcare Foundation director Annika Morris said. She explains the gala, held at Wheat State Wine Co. the past four years, reaches capacity at approximately 200 guests. Morris continued, “Due to space constraints, the gala has traditionally been invite-only. Going virtual allows us to offer the gala experience to a larger audience, while keeping donors safe.”

The fundraising goal for the 2020 event is $50,000. These funds will benefit William Newton Hospital’s Second Century Campaign.

“During phase one of our master facility plan, we expanded our surgery center and made it operate more efficiently,” William Newton Hospital CEO Ben Quinton said. “We hope to do the same for other areas of the hospital moving forward.”

The 2020 gala has been dubbed ‘Maskerade,’ embracing the use of facemasks for personal protective equipment.

“The gala has become a formal event over the years. We wanted to evoke the feeling of a masquerade ball, while reminding people to wear face coverings if attending a watch party outside of their home,” Morris said.

Participants can purchase individual, no-frills tickets through 5 p.m. Oct. 10. For a larger fee, foundation supporters will receive two individual tickets and a party in a box with favors, decorations, wine, and a meat and cheese tray from Wheat State Wine Co. This option is available to purchase through Oct. 2. Each ticket includes access to the live stream of the gala and bidding platform.

The live stream will feature pre-recorded entertainment, recognition of sponsors and package underwriters, and a live auction conducted by auctioneer Rick Hopper. The silent auction opens for bidding on Oct. 5 and will close at 5 p.m. Oct. 10.

Morris said hospital revenues have been down in 2020 due to the shutdown of elective procedures during the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Our hospital is not supported by local taxes. Our revenues are generated from patient services and philanthropic gifts. More than ever, we appreciate the continued support of our individual and corporate donors – like Union State Bank – who recognize the importance of local healthcare.”

Tickets can be purchased online at event.gives/WNHF 2020. For more information, call the William Newton Healthcare Foundation office at (620) 222-6275.

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