You did it! You helped us raise over $30,000 to help support people in grief!
There were so many people who helped make this happen, and at the risk of this sounding like an award acceptance speech, please bear with me because this is important. It's easy for one person to take the credit, but every successful person/organization knows, it is never possible alone. I could not do what I do without my board of directors and our new Director of Operations we hired in March, Kristyn. And we could not do what we do without the support and generosity of our sponsors, donors, volunteers, and partners... you!
Believe me... we could work our butts off planning a party, but if no one shows up with a willingness to give, our work is wasted. You made the party successful and you are the reason we can continue growing. Thank you!
Our Love Sponsors for the event, Steven and Denise Jones, are some of Love Not Lost's biggest supporters - and they've been with us since the beginning. If you picked up on the fact we share the same last name, it's not a coincidence. They are my in-laws, and I am so grateful for their generosity and support.
Our Life Sponsors for the event, Kalon Creative and Trinity Anglican Mission are also near and dear to my heart. Kalon Creative was co-founded by a long-time friend and LNL board member, Austin Grigg. They've been huge supporters of Love Not Lost throughout the year and we were honored to have them sponsor our event. Trinity Anglican Mission is my Atlanta church who taught me what love is. They loved me through my darkest days and set the example of how to love people well for Love Not Lost. We are extremely grateful for their sponsorship and support.
Our generous sponsors covered the cost of the party so that money donated the night of the event could go straight to our mission of supporting people in grief.
We stepped up our party game this year and had so much fun with everyone who joined us! 433 Bishop was an incredible space for us this year that greeted you with lofted ceilings, a huge bar, and a gallery wall you could see from the front door. People made their way around the room checking out auction items and settled into the album lounge, where there could actually see and touch the hand-crafted books we give to our applicants. We had mobile bidding again this year and it was so fun to see people bidding from home as well as at the event.
I kicked off the night by sharing a brief version of my story for those unfamiliar with Love Not Lost and then passed the mic over to Kristyn, our Director of Operations. She shared her story of losing her dad when she was young, and how she was only left with a few photos (none of which are professional quality or pictures she would want to hang in her home). Kristyn shared that she wished she had what Love Not Lost provides and that is a huge reason she joined our team (because let's be honest, it's definitely not for the money)!
After Kristyn spoke, our auctioneer, Magen, took the floor to kick off our live auction. Let me just tell you, Magen knows how to bring the party! She and her team had everyone cracking up and raising paddles left and right. She asked Tommie to come up and share more about the private flight tour he donated to our live event since he's an incredible pilot (and yoga instructor famous for his headstands). We also had the honor of having Christian and Quinn representing the Loews Atlanta Hotel join us. During the live auction for the hotel stay, they jumped to the mic to up the prize to keep the action going strong! The Willetts, our awesome photographers, happened to capture a few shots of them bidding too... There were some great bidding wars that were fun for everyone to be a part of and witness as we raised money to support people in grief.
After the live auction, I took the stage to share more about my journey through grief and serving the applicants of Love Not Lost. I invited our album sponsors, Shelly and Lek (and their son who really wanted to join us) from Azura Albums, to present two albums to families we had recently served. It was brief, but I shared about our vision to grow Love Not Lost to a national level and the photographer program we hope to scale. I then invited another special guest, Susan, to come share her experience with Love Not Lost so people could hear the impact we have through the session and photo book first hand.
Susan is a beautiful mom with 4 kids and a husband who was fighting stage 4 pancreatic cancer - they are the family from the midwest. Her husband passed away before Christmas, and she was very gracious to come down and celebrate life and love with us in the face of grief. She shared her perspective on our session and how much the experience meant to her and her children. I'm not sure how many dry eyes were left in the room, but I am guessing not many. Mine sure weren't.
Magen closed the night with an ask for donations in case anyone wanted to give and didn't find any items that struck their fancy earlier that night. We doubled our monthly donors and raised over $7,000 in that portion alone. I was blown away and completely humbled.
I've said it before and I'll say it again... We can NOT do this without you. Your generosity with your money, time, talent, and network keep us going. Without your support, we can't function as an organization and serve people on a greater scale. Thank you.
We had party sponsors who donated their services to help us keep our costs as low as possible. A huge Thank You to Foglio Press, Ameripress Buckhead, Amp'D Entertainment, Dennis Dean Catering, 433 Bishop, The Willetts Photography, Fuji Floral, Cut Flowers Wholesale, Raven J Events, BayPhoto, Haley McGuire (calligraphy), David Goehring (videography), 180 Parking, Coca-Cola, and the amazing volunteers who helped us run our event smoothly.
If you've made it this far, I appreciate you taking the time to read through the details of our 2nd annual event. We hope to make it better with each year and are already starting to work on next year's event. We hope you'll find us on social media, sign up for our newsletter, and join us on this journey to love people well while we support them in grief.
If you have any desire to help us next year or know of people who might like to be sponsors, donors, or in-kind gifters for auction items, please contact us and let us know! We hope you enjoyed the party re-cap and photos by The Willetts and Auction Eventworks.