After years of self-funding our efforts, we were encouraged by others wanting to offer their assistance to create an official entity and let the community know about our cause. On December 6th, 2016 we had our official launch party at the Tampa Museum of Art surrounded by business leaders, our partner non-profits, the entire Lightning roster, friends, and family.
Our Master of Ceremonies, Charley Belcher of Fox 13, lead us through a wonderful night, introducing everyone to the foundation and hearing from Tony Colton (https://www.tampabay.com/lightning-mourn-loss-of-inspirational-fan-tony-colton/2332161) on the impact the foundation has and can make. We also held a live jersey auction with a few Lightning key players, and we finished with an open call to the guests to donate to each of our programs. Thanks to everyone, we were able to raise over $250,000 and kick things off in an incredibly powerful way.
We laid out our plans to use the community’s support to strengthen our reach to help the families we meet in the Cally’s Crew suite, brought to us through our four partner non-profits, Beat NB, National Pediatric Cancer Foundation, Children’s Cancer Center, and 1Voice Foundation. It was a truly meaningful evening that helped emphasize our vision.