Nearly 1,400 families are served each year by the Ronald McDonald House Charities (RMHC) of Kentuckiana. The space in Downtown Louisville provides temporary housing for the families of children who are staying at local hospitals, which takes a vast amount of pressure off of loved ones during a critical time. The annual Red Tie Gala is an elegant, inspiring event that showcases RMHC’s impact and helps the nonprofit further its work for children and families, especially now that the organization is undergoing a major expansion. To learn more, we spoke with Christina Johnson, manager of special events for RMHC Kentuckiana.
The Benefits and Details
“Guests can expect a delicious dinner, open bar, a live and silent auction and a wine and bourbon cork pull,” said Johnson. “Also, for the first time in several years we will end the night with live music instead of a deejay. We look forward to having the Usual Suspects Band join us.”
The Red Tie Gala is RMHC’s single largest fundraiser of the year. “Last year, the event netted over $240,000,” she explained. “All of the money goes to help us make our house feel like a ‘home away from home’ for the families while they go through one of the toughest times of their lives – the illness of their child.
“Each year, we invite a family that has stayed at our house to come and speak at the event,” Johnson continued. “It is always a privilege to hear their story and see their strength and courage. Our guests relish in the opportunity to see firsthand not just what, but more importantly, who they are supporting.”
“While things like our Adopt-A-Meal program and our close proximity to the hospital are mentioned over and over again,” said Johnson, “we find that the number one thing our families value is the opportunity to be surrounded by other families in similar situations who offer them additional comfort and support during a difficult time.”
Ronald McDonald House is currently undergoing a major expansion, which will be complete in December 2019. “This enables (us) to expand from 36 to 56 guestrooms, and also adds many new and improved amenities for (our) guest families,” said CEO Hal Hedley. “(We) are working to complete a $21 million capital campaign to fund the expansion. As of Dec. 1, $19 million had been raised.”
“Even in the midst of a large capital campaign, our day-to-day operations continue,” Johnson said. “This very day, there will likely be a family who will need the respite of our home-away-from-home for the first time. Fundraising efforts like our Red Tie Gala provide the necessary funding to not only keep our doors open but to make sure that we can provide the best possible support for our families. We seek to meet as many of their basic needs as possible so our families can focus their time, energy and resources on getting their sick child well while keeping the rest of their family together in the process.”
How You Can Help
“Community members can do things like collect wish list items, prepare a meal for our families, help with light cleaning or make a cash donation,” Johnson stated. “They can also offer support by participating in our Red Tie Gala as either an auction donor, a sponsor or a guest. Our main goal is keeping families close, and we truly appreciate the generous support of the Kentuckiana community in making this possible.” V
Red Tie Gala
Louisville Marriott Downtown
6 p.m. Feb. 16