Portland, OR. More than 450 people gathered at the Oregon Convention Center on September 17th to celebrate life’s silver linings at the annual Hearts & Hands Gala to support Ronald McDonald House Charities® (RMHC) of Oregon and Southwest Washington. The event, which was presented by the John L. Scott Foundation, raised a record-breaking $615,000, making it the most successful fundraising event in RMHC’s history. Bob Speltz, Senior Director of Public Affairs at The Standard, accepted the 2016 Partner of Distinction award honoring Standard Insurance Company for its years of dedication. Bob was joined by Jessica Jarratt Miller, CEO of Ronald McDonald House Charities; David Payne, Vice President of Life and Disability Services at The Standard; and Cindy Luckman, Board Chair of Ronald McDonald House Charities.
“We couldn’t be more thrilled with this year’s Hearts & Hands Gala and the tremendous impact it will have on our families with seriously ill children,” said Jessica Jarratt Miller, CEO of Ronald McDonald House Charities of Oregon and Southwest Washington. “Our Houses provide silver linings for families who must travel far from home to get medical care for their children, and we are beyond grateful for the amazing outpouring of support of our sponsors and attendees.”
With over $615,000 raised – more than $94,000 than the previous year’s record-breaking Hearts & Hands Gala – the impact to Portland’s two Ronald McDonald Houses is substantial. It costs RMHC $150 to a host a family for one night, and the Gala’s success allows the organization to provide a loving “home away from home” for families for nearly 4,100 nights. For families who must travel far from home and grapple with the stress and uncertainty of having a sick child, having a beautiful place to stay and a supportive community is priceless.
The evening began with a red carpet greeting from Ronald McDonald, which was followed by a silent and live auction. Top auction items included an African safari adventure, an Oregon-themed “City Slickers” package and a Hollywood-inspired trip to Southern California. Current Ronald McDonald House guests Nicole and Michael Pierce also took the stage, and spoke about their multiple stays at Portland’s Ronald McDonald Houses and the impact it had on their family while daughter Natalie was undergoing treatment for a rare genetic disorder. Their three children, Natalie, Samuel and Cecilia, joined them on stage to share their story. Other current house guests, including a family from Russia and a family from Tennessee, also participated in the evening’s festivities. Ken Wright with Ken Wright Cellars also donated the evening’s wine pairings, adding to the night’s celebration.
The event also honored and recognized RMHC’s 2016 Partner of Distinction – Standard Insurance Company (The Standard) – for their countless contributions to RMHC.
“From helping us build our East Ronald McDonald House to launching a major employee giving campaign that will raise a substantial amount of money for our organization, The Standard has made a difference in the lives of thousands of seriously ill children and families who come to stay and heal at our Houses,” said Jessica Jarratt Miller. “We were thrilled to recognize them as this year’s Partner of Distinction.”
The sponsors who made the event possible, included: John L. Scott Foundation (Presenting Sponsor); The Standard, McDonald’s Owners/Operators of the States Advertising Cooperative, US Bank (Gold Sponsors); Hoffman Construction Company, OHSU Doernbecher Children’s Hospital, RBC Wealth Management, Portland Trail Blazers, Turner Construction (Silver Sponsors); Northwest Consulting & Marketing, Parr Lumber, Kaiser Permanente Health Plan, Randall Children’s Hospital at Legacy Emanuel (Bronze Sponsors); Barran Liebman, The Douglas & Gloria Rumberger Foundation, Dr. Pepper Snapple