River Garden Foundation Annual Gala
The River Garden Gala is the Foundation’s major annual fundraising event in support of River Garden’s mission to serve the entire community, rich and poor alike, with caring and excellence. More than 50 percent of our residents are medically indigent and on Medicaid. Each year, River Garden must raise more than $1.3 million to subsidize our Medicaid residents. This amount must be raised through contributions and special events. The gala provides a significant portion of this figure, and River Garden has come to depend upon this gala income. To date, the River Garden Galas have raised more than $2,801,400 for the Home.
History and Mission
In 1993, the Board of Trustees of the then-new River Garden Foundation wanted to create an elegant community event that would establish the Foundation’s identity and promote River Garden Hebrew Home/Wolfson Health and Aging Center. The gala has indeed become known as one of the finest in town and has helped educate the general community about the unique nature of River Garden, its national reputation as a model elder care agency, and what a special role it plays in our community.
The first River Garden Foundation Gala took place in October 1993 at the Omni Jacksonville Hotel. Rochelle Proctor and Barbara Parker served as chairs for the black tie event, with Betty Boyer and Jan Allison as advisors. By word of mouth, and because of a strong committee and generous corporate support, the event was virtually sold out before the invitations were even mailed. More than 500 people attended the “Phantom of the Opera.”
Twenty years later, the Gala attracts guests and sponsors from all across the community for an elegant evening. The high-end evening of cocktails, dinner, a silent auction and entertainment has become a ‘friend-raiser’ as well as a fundraiser for River Garden.