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Avera gala raises $102K for community programming

Attendees dance during the fifth annual Avera Queen of Peace Foundation gala, which took place Jan. 26 at the Highland Conference Center. The event raised more than $102,000 for community programming. (Submitted photo)

The health of the community is in good hands with the success of a recent fundraiser.

The Avera Queen of Peace Foundation raised a record amount of more than $102,000 during its fifth annual gala, held in the end of January. The funds from the gala, themed "Havana Nights," will benefit the foundation's Caring for Life Fund to support community wellness programs and initiatives in the Mitchell area.

"As soon as we figured out what that number was, it was really exciting to be able to share that because our donors want to share in that excitement too. I think the success of the event really came together so perfectly," said Molly Sutton, director of the Avera Queen of Peace Foundation.

The $102,000 is nearly $17,000 more than the previous record. And in the past four years, Sutton said the gala — which saw a crowd of 240 this year — has raised $442,000 to support community programming.

The money has helped support projects for residents at Avera Brady Health and Rehab as well as allowed for free cancer screenings and education opportunities within the Avera Queen of Peace system, Sutton said.

This year's funds will go toward providing more educational events for the community, Sutton said, including an expansion of the diabetes assistance programs to provide more pre-diabetes awareness. The money will also continue supporting cancer screenings.

"We're really excited about it, and really happy," Sutton said. "It's going to do a lot of good."

Although a year away, Sutton said the date and theme for the sixth annual gala has already been set. Attendees can expect an "Around the World" theme and a Jan. 25, 2019, date.

"We can't express enough how thankful we are for the amazing gifts from individual donors and local sponsors for helping to carry these projects into the future."