Hoffman Homes’ ‘No Show Gala’ Raises Funds from Supporters Who Stay Home

Supporters received special “Kick Back While You Give Back” thank you packets.

For the past 16 years, November has been a magical month for Hoffman Homes for Youth in Littlestown, Pa. Each year, Hoffman Homes holds its annual Black Tie & Blue Jeans Gala in early November to raise funds for its children in care. With the pandemic, Hoffman Homes staff members knew they would have to come up with a different way to raise funds for the youth. The answer? A No Show Gala!

The No Show Gala was held Nov. 6, with a $40,000 goal, and was marketed in an unusual way. As the website announced, “Your absence is requested November 6. Forget the killer heels, cancel the mani-pedi, leave your black tie in the closet, don’t trim your stay-at-home beard. Enjoy a night in and show your support of the children at Hoffman Homes for Youth!”

According to Alicia Stanley, vice president of marketing and development, one of the main emphases was to ask people to think about what preparations for a night out cost, and donate those funds instead to Hoffman Homes. For example, the cost of a $60 mani-pedi can give a one-month supply of art therapy materials to Hoffman Homes. For the normal $75 cost of a gala ticket, 75 journals can go to Hoffman Homes children for use in their therapy.

The high end donations were equally meaningful. For example, the normal $750 donation for a VIP table of 10 supplies one month of uncovered necessary medical expenses for children at Hoffman Homes for Youth.

As Nov. 6 dawned, Hoffman Homes sent a reminder to its supporters to spend a night in and support the children at Hoffman Homes for Youth by NOT attending the event. That evening, Melissa Leathery, CEO and president, shared a Facebook Live message thanking everyone for their support. Leathery recognized the event sponsors and shared her appreciation for the Hoffman Homes community, who showed its continuing support.

“At the start of Facebook Live, we still needed just under $2,000 to reach our goal,” says Stanley. “By the end of the evening, we had reached it.” The total raised for the virtual event was $45,425.

To give supporters an idea of what an in-person event would have been like, Hoffman Homes sent them “Kick Back While You Give Back” thank-you packets. Each packet included a thank you card from the children, recipes for food and beverages they would have enjoyed at a typical in-person gala, a playlist with classic rock and country music selections, and a success story about one of Hoffman Homes’ former children in care.

In the end, it didn’t really matter whether the event was in-person or virtual. Although the social gathering was missed, the No Show Gala provided an opportunity for the entire local community to show its love and support for the staff and children in care at Hoffman Homes.

After all, says Stanley, “at the end of the day, it has never been about the party. It has always been about showing compassion for children in need.”

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