Thinking outside the box: Okanagan Stay at Home Gala fundraiser to go national - InfoNews

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Thinking outside the box: Okanagan Stay at Home Gala fundraiser to go national

Drew Vincent's idea for a Stay at Home Gala to raise money for those impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic is going national following the event's success in the Okanagan.
Image Credit: SUBMITTED / Okanagan College
April 14, 2020 - 6:00 PM

If you can't hold a fundraising gala live and in person, you are forced to go online. But how can you possibly raise the same amount of money you would have if you had a room full of people and their cheque books?

Drew Vincent has figured it out with the Stay at Home Gala he organized and held last month, and plans to hold in a much bigger way in May.

The event had the usual elements of a gala although dinner was delivered to the homes of ticket buyers and the guest speakers, including Lane Merrifield of "Dragon's Den" fame, were live-streamed.

Over 200 Okanagan households participated in the event and raised more than $20,000 to help the Okanagan community during the pandemic, according to an Okanagan College media release. 

“The positive response we have received is a testament to our community’s values,” Vincent, a college alumnus, said in the release. “We started calling it social distancing at its finest, but we might have to change that to community at its finest.”

Following the gala's success, Vincent and his team have set their sights on a national charitable event May 2.

Communities can hold their own online galas, using a template provided by Vincent. Each location will stream local speakers, with additional spots being filled by national keynote and celebrity acts, including Hayley Wickenheiser and Erin Cebula. 

“Life has changed for everyone right now but we can still come together as a community and support local businesses,” Vincent said.

The fundraising goal for the national Stay at Home Gala is set at $1 million, which will go towards helping Canadians affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

For more information on hosting your own Stay at Home Gala click here.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Brie Welton or call (250) 819-3723 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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