The 18th Annual Festival of Friends, one of Morgan Memorial Hospital’s premier fundraisers, was smash hit last weekend, according to hospital officials.
““We are so appreciative of our auxiliary members for the time an energy they have put in to making this event so successful for the past 18 years and to the community members who continue to support us in our quest to become a patient-focused center of excellence. Such support is instrumental to our continued success,” said Ralph Castillo, CEO of Morgan Memorial Hospital (MMH).
This year’s event, held at the Madison-Morgan Cultural Center, featured over 100 auction items, raffle prizes and music. Organizers encouraged guests to come dressed as their favorite song or favorite decade.
“We sold out of tickets,” said Megan Morris, director of community development and public relations for MMH, who noted the cultural center’s capacity is capped at 299 people.
This year’s event was a departure from previous years in which guests split up to have themed dinner parties at various locations throughout Madison. Perhaps inspired by the new hospital underway, hospital leaders wanted this year’s Festival of Friends to take on a new feel.
“This year’s event is a special, one-of-kind celebration,” said Jane Hogan, a Morgan Memorial Hospital Auxiliary member before the event. “Our very successful annual dinner parties will return next year, but on Saturday we will join together as a community to celebrate and have fun.”
“There were 135 auction items for guests to bid on along with a raffle of a gorgeous diamond bracelet provided by Whidby Jewelers. Dance music was provided by DJ Darrell Hope, and the dance floor was occupied by attendees all night!” said Morris. “One of the features of the evening was ‘Dancing through the Decades’—we started with 1960 when the hospital first opened and recognized some of the major occurrences during each decade. Kicking off the festivities on the dance floor were Dr. Ken Lewis, who admitted the first patient to the current MMH in December 31, 1959, and Mrs. June Bone, an employee of the hospital during that time. Other groups recognized as we progressed through the decades were past and current hospital Authority members, attendees who had utilized hospital services and more.”
Guests spent Saturday dancing the night away and bidding on the myriad of auction items that included jewelry, paintings, artwork, gift cards, gourmet dinners, and local services. The auction items also included international trips to Tuscany, Italy, and Antigua in the West Indies.
“Since we are getting ready to move into the new facility the monies raised would definitely be connected to it, whether it be for equipment needs, programming efforts or something else,” said Morris.
After the fundraiser the auxiliary members will meet with hospital administration to best determine how the proceeds will be spent.
The auxiliary has raised more than $500,000 since the group’s inception in 1991 for hospital equipment, facilities and other services.
The new hospital, Morgan Medical Center, is progressing ahead of schedule and under budget. Officials anticipate doors will open in December 2018.