Dancers in white paint suits splashed with glow-in-the-dark inspirational phrases raised more than $80,000 for the Cameron K. Gallagher Foundation in the inaugural SpeakUp LightUp party at the Hippodrome Theater.
“In the style of the CKG Foundation, this party was unlike any other,” said Nannette Shor, director of marketing for the foundation.
“Instead of ‘black tie,’ they said ‘white paint suit.’ Instead of hiding problems in the dark, they said, ‘Let’s shine a light on mental illness and let’s finish this.’
“Sure, there was plenty of dancing under laser lights, clinking of glasses in celebration and a flurry of auction cards waving in the air, but the real purpose of the party was to change the way people address mental illness and to change the lives of teens fighting the good fight.”
Cameron Gallagher was a Henrico County teenager who died at the finish line of the Shamrock Half Marathon in Virginia Beach two years ago from a previously unknown heart condition. She had suffered from depression and anxiety, and she wanted to start a 5k race to help focus attention on the problem. After her death, her parents decided to make the project a reality in September 2014.
Proceeds from the fundraising will bring the Minding Your Minds program to Deep Run High School this spring and to additional high schools next fall, Shor said. The program, which was developed in Philadelphia, brings young adults who have depression to talk at school assemblies and then follows up with a multiweek curriculum to help students cope.
“It’s a great way to get the conversation started,” Shor said. “We have to talk about this. We can’t sweep it under the carpet.”
Grace Gallagher, Cameron’s mother and executive director of the foundation, said the $80,000 from the dance can provide programs for more than 54,000 teens.
“It’s not about the money we raise,” Gallagher said, “it’s about the impact we can make on our local teens with it that’s important.”
FeedMore receives $10,000
The CapTech Food Fight raised $10,000 for FeedMore in a battle between the CapTech delivery teams for three large accounts.
Adding a third team and renewing the focus on the cause produced an 85 percent increase in donations over previous years, according to CapTech’s announcement of the donation. Creative fundraising methods included the opportunity to throw a pie at a CapTecher, bake sales, corporate contribution matching days, head and beard shaving contests, and weekly mock commercials.
“We are able to do what we do because of the continued support of organizations like CapTech,” said Douglas Pick, FeedMore’s CEO. “Their dedication to our mission and commitment to raising awareness about hunger in our community allows us to further extend our reach and positively impact our neighbors in need.”
Chesterfield gets $7,000
Columbia Gas of Virginia contributed $7,000 to Chesterfield County’s events that celebrated Black History Month, including a breakfast that recognized six Chesterfield public school students.
“We are proud to continue our more than a quarter-century commitment in supporting the celebration of Black History Month sponsored by Chesterfield County, which is home to our state headquarters,” said Brent Archer, the company’s president. “Through our support of the student scholarship program, we are making a difference in our community.”
$5,200 gift aids veteran
The Home Depot Foundation donated $5,200 to the Paralyzed Veterans of America Mid-Atlantic Chapter to help local Home Depot volunteers make home repairs for Chris Bacon, a double-amputee Army veteran who lost his legs after stepping on a land mine in Vietnam.
Through a series of personal tragedies, his family had not been able to keep up with maintenance on their home. The Midlothian Home Depot store learned about his needs through Paralyzed Veterans of America.
Volunteers worked on their day off to build three wheelchair ramps, replace floors, upgrade the kitchen, paint and weatherize the home.