Friday, March 21st was a wonderful day for the Jay Fund; our 10th annual Wine Tasting Gala was truly a Milestone Celebration! Almost 900 friends, guests, and supporters poured into the Wells Fargo Center in downtown Jacksonville for an evening of great wine and food, amazing auction items, and super celebrity guests. In case you missed it, here’s a brief recap:
A Celebration of Two Firsts
For the first time, we introduced a VIP lounge area for celebrities, special guests, and sponsors. The lounge featured an acoustic guitarist, a caricaturist, a mixologist, and a relaxed, intimate atmosphere for mixing, mingling…and lots of picture-taking! We also celebrated the appearance of Pat McGillis, mother of Jay McGillis. It was a joy and a blessing to have her in attendance, and a blessing to have an opportunity to see a glimpse of the legacy her wonderful son left behind.
A Celebration of Milestones
Because this was the Wine Tasting Gala’s tenth year, it seemed only fitting to take a look back, reflecting on the milestones we’ve eclipsed since the first Wine Gala was held in the Florida Theatre in 2005.
2006 – We granted over $200,000 in assistance to families in Jacksonville in one year for the first time.
2008 – The Jay Fund provided financial assistance to its 1000th family.
2009 – The “Now and Forever” endowment secured $5 million, ensuring that, in the future, families tackling childhood cancer could rely on the Jay Fund to BE THERE for them.
2010 – Remembrance Weekend, an annual gathering supporting those who have lost a child to cancer, welcomed its 75th family.
2012 – The Jay Fund introduced the “Financial Game Plan” Program, providing comprehensive financial planning strategies to families. It is still the first and only program of its kind in the nation.
We also celebrated a new milestone: on Friday night, we raised over $200,000 in donations, which brought the total amount raised by all ten galas to a breathtaking $1.5 million.
A Celebration of Families
Most importantly, we all came together to celebrate the courageous children and families that move us to do what we do. Since the very beginning of the Tom Coughlin Jay Fund Foundation in 1996, we have had the pleasure of meeting, serving and working with so many heroic children and families. The Wine Gala represented a celebration of their drive, determination, spirit and strength.
As is the case with every event we do, none of it could have been possible without the tremendous help of our sponsors, volunteers, and supporters. So, as we look back at the undeniable success of the 10th Annual Wine Tasting Gala, we want to celebrate YOU. Thank you!
If you’d like to see some pictures, check out the 2014 Wine Tasting Gala gallery and take a look at the quick shots we posted on Instagram!