This has been an unusual but exciting few months for Cancer League of Colorado. While all of us “battened down the hatches” from a personal standpoint in response to the COVID-19 pandemic for much of spring and early summer months, Cancer League has continued its vital work to fight an even stronger and more devastating disease – cancer. Though we were forced to cancel our annual golf tournament, the generosity of those who strongly support our mission carried us to levels that enabled us to meet our funding objectives for this fiscal year.
Incredible Virtual Hope Ball Exceeds All Expectations!
As most of you know, our 2020 Hope Ball had to be rescheduled twice and was eventually held on June 27th in a virtual rather than live format. The product was a highly entertaining, three-hour event that featured, during the first and third hours, live jazz music from the Jon Parker trio, with testimonial videos and creative auction promotions intertwined throughout. We even had a virtual bar complete with a bartender who was available to teach the patrons how to make their favorite adult beverages. The middle hour carried the meat of the program, led by MC Murphy Huston and highlighted by inspiring videos, the conclusion of our extensive silent auction, and a highly successful virtual live auction and paddle raise conducted by our auctioneer Eric Goodman.
At the end of the evening, we had raised more dollars through this virtual event than we did in the live event the year before! THAT’S RIGHT! WE RAISED MORE THAN $530,000 THROUGH OUR 2020 VIRTUAL HOPE BALL!
There are so many people to thank for their contributions to this success. But I will start by thanking our amazing list of some 30 sponsors who, because they believe in our mission, stuck with us after we switched from a live to a virtual event. I also would like to express our sincere gratitude to those individuals who donated so generously to our paddle raise and/or purchased items in our silent and live auctions, as well as the many individuals, vendors and artists who donated the spectacular items for sale in our auctions.
We are extremely grateful to the Board of Directors of Cancer League of Colorado Foundation for their decision to make an amazing gift of $100,000 to this event, which was used as an incentive to match contributions made by individuals during our paddle raise. This gift exemplifies the effectiveness of the Foundation in fulfilling its mission to support the fundraising efforts of Cancer League of Colorado, particularly and most importantly in this critical time of need when our fundraising efforts have been severely impaired by the pandemic.
We very much appreciate the efforts of the ones who made this event happen, starting with our event Co-Chairs Martha Jentz, Karen White and Kaye Music. We also thank Barb and Julie Reece for their countless hours in gathering, organizing, logging and delivering to buyers the over 150 items in our silent auction. We can’t thank Jeff Reece enough for the creativity, initiative, expertise and effort that he exhibited in producing this event and all the included videos. We also are grateful for the technical capabilities and effort delivered by Keith Singer and his team from Catch It in Time in handling the live streaming, camera and audio support. And, of course, we are thankful for our on-screen performers, including our MC Murphy Huston, the Jon Parker Trio, our auctioneer Eric Goodman, bartender Dan Trujillo, Ashley McClure from Auction Event Services, and all the individuals who appeared in our many videos. And finally, we thank Suzanne Alliano Rossick and Jeff Reece for coordinating all the communications necessary to execute this event.
Near High for Fundraising! On the heels of this amazing event, and despite the fundraising challenges presented by COVID-19, I am pleased to report that Cancer League of Colorado raised almost $1,100,000 net to use for funding grants, which ranks among the top three fundraising years in our history. We should all be very proud of what we have accomplished as an organization this year, particularly under these adverse circumstances, as well as the tremendous impact these accomplishments will have in furthering our mission of finding a cure for cancer.
Your efforts this year enabled us to fund $210,000 in cancer-related service grants to 32 different Colorado organizations. In addition, we funded 13 grants totaling $540,000 in support of innovative cancer research in Colorado, including five collaborative grants at the $60,000 level. Finally, we funded another $165,000 in Colorado-based investigator-initiated clinical trials. And we still have more than $175,000 available to fund additional clinical trials as the need arises. This is a tremendous step for our organization in making an ever greater and more effective impact on the fight against cancer in our state.
Thank You for an Amazing Year With our 2019-2020 year now closed, there are so many people who deserve our sincere thanks for their contributions to our successes. I would like to start by thanking our leadership, beginning with our outstanding Board of Directors. Their passion, commitment and cooperative spirit through which they have carried out their responsibilities, especially in these challenging times, enabled us to accomplish some amazing things as an organization this year. Our sincere thanks also goes to the members of our Corporate Advisory Board and Scientific Advisory Board for their support and guidance in their respective areas of expertise and experience. And, we extend our heartfelt appreciation to the sponsors of our events and the individuals and organizations who stuck with us through this difficult period in our history and continued to support Cancer League with their financial resources.
Finally, and most importantly, I want to thank our membership, the lifeblood of this organization, for their passionate commitment to our mission of finding a cure for cancer. It is through their efforts, whether it be serving on the Board or a committee, participating in our events, volunteering or communicating our mission to the social and business community, that Cancer League has achieved so much under these pandemic circumstances.
Fundraising Goal for Upcoming Fiscal Year/Over the Edge in September
We have begun our new year with high but cautious expectations as we pursue our goal of raising $1,100,000 for cancer-related clinical trials, seed research and services. Our object has been tempered by anticipated challenges resulting from restrictions brought about by COVID-19. And none of us knows when these circumstances will be alleviated or what impact they will continue to have on our fundraising efforts. Already we have canceled our 2020 Race for Research originally scheduled for August.
Having said that, we are moving forward with tremendous enthusiasm with our exhilarating Over the Edge event, which will be held on September 10th, 11th and 12th at 1670 Broadway. More than 200 brave souls will rappel 36 stories, with appropriate social distancing protocols in place, to raise money for Cancer League. Please visit our website for more information about how to sign up for this extraordinary event.
Our new Board of Directors has some very real challenges ahead of them this year, but we are better prepared than ever as an organization to reach our objectives. I look forward to working with each of you to make it happen!
Enjoy the rest of your summer.
With Dedication, Gary Reece President, Cancer League of Colorado