Event: Live Virtual Gala
Event Date: Friday, October 23, 2020
Location: Virtual presentation
Money Raised: $360,000+
Number of Virtual Attendees: 750+
Beneficiary: Citizens for Animal Protection
Photography: Daniel Ortiz
Honoree(s): Brook & Julie Brookshire, Frances Moody & Tony Buzbee, Pamela Wright, Rob Eppolito and Duke & C.C. Ensell
Emcee: Johnny “Bravo” Holloway
Event Coordination: Francisco & Co.
Citizens for Animal Protection “Rocked Out” Live … and Virtually!
This was the first Live and Virtual Gala for CAP. “All You Need Is LOVE FOR CAP,” inspired by The Beatles song, gave virtual guests a “rockin’” good time!
Continuing with The Beatles theme, The Fab 5, a Houston-based Beatles and 1960’s tribute band, performed many of the great Beatles hits of “Yesterday,” leading to a fun, dance-at-home, “Twist and Shout” good time. Rather than show a pre-recorded evening, the band decided to add some energetic vibes and go “live” at a studio along with the emcee and animals and broadcast the performance to their supporters.
Virtual events require much more planning and have many more moving parts than your standard gala. Our city’s non-profits have to be more creative and maximize their efforts when soliciting donors in this current economic climate. This event is no exception and their efforts paid off beautifully. Dollars raised from this event have exceeded $360,000 and more donations were flowing in, even as the event played its last note. More than 750 virtual attendees, including a few out of the country, enjoyed watching emcee Johnny “Bravo” Holloway brilliantly keep the fast-paced program moving.
Prior to the event, a presentation to this year’s award recipients had been safely filmed. The Melcher Humanitarians of the Year was given to outstanding CAP supporters Brook & Julie Brookshire, and their cute pomeranians, Lola and Lila. CAP Cherished Companions and chairs of the Gala in 2019, Frances Moody & Tony Buzbee, displayed a photo of all their many dogs. Celebrity Paws Hall of Fame and long-time supporter of the animals, Pamela Wright, gave heartfelt remarks and showed her adopted CAP kitten, Lucy. Heart of Gold Rob Eppolito brought his beautiful rescue German Shepherd Reba. The Share the Love Award, inspired by Gloria & Frank Meszaros of West Houston Subaru, whose efforts have reached the milestone of over 10,000 sponsored adoptions in almost 10 years, was presented to Duke & C.C. Ensell for their love for CAP and all the animals in our community.
As the appeal for the evening got underway, the band signaled “Help!” was needed for the animals. Adorable cats and dogs, and even a bunny, came to the stage as the emcee shared their stories of rescue. Adding to the excitement of the raffle for a 2021 Subaru Outback Premium, donated by West Houston Subaru, the winner’s name was brought in by one of the shelter’s rescue puppies. The winner was Hillary Rothenberg. A bidding contest for one of the live auction items, a stay at a Big Sky Montana home, led to the getaway being donated twice. Both bidders ended the evening happy and the animals were the recipient of this additional beneficence.
Earlier in the day, some “Glad All Over” picnic baskets and trays were personally delivered to donors from GRAZE along with wine and festive John Lennon-style glasses to wear. Viewers were encouraged to snap pics of their pets, post on social media and tag at #love4cap throughout the night. Congratulations go to Ellie Francisco and her company francisco+co for masterfully producing this virtual evening.
CAP, celebrating its 48th year, is a non-profit organization that shelters, rescues and places homeless animals for adoption with loving families. To make a donation to save these loving animals, please visit their donation page at https://donatenow.networkforgood.org/CitizensforAnimalProtection
Socially and virtually present: Melna and Mike Moriarty, Liz and Pete Carragher, Marian and Austin Cornelius, Linda Schmuck and Todd Zucker, Patricia and CAP Board President Sig Cornelius, CAP Executive Director Emeritus Kappy Muenzer, Executive Director Sandi Mercado, Carol and Bill Simmons, Evelyn and Steve Quick, Gloria and Frank Meszaros, Frank DiMaria and Pat Keller, Alicia and Eric Jansen, Jim Mattly, Greg Miller, Mary and John Kenner, Beth Wolff, Elizabeth and Alan Stein, Susan and Dan Boggio, Kim and Jonas Peterson, Laura Carlock, Cherry Whitley, Laura Moore and Don Sanders, Laura and Tino Rodriguez, Leisa Holland Nelson and Bob Bowman, Glenda and Richard Heard, Jan and Sian Mikkelsen, Edna Meyer-Nelson, Linda and Willie Chiang, Jody Merritt, Kristie and Randy Wade, Connie Cortopassi, Fiona and Jack Richards, Julie and Keith Little and Judy Gondzur.