May 11, 2018

An Inspiring Evening at Friend Raiser

Record-breaking $2.5 million raised for the 25th Friendiversary.

On Thursday, 740 guests came together for the annual Friend Raiser gala and to celebrate the 25th Friendiversary. Together, we raised a total of $2.5 million!

The evening began with an open house and silent auction. Guests moved from room to room, grazing on gourmet hors d'oeuvres and sipping bubbles, while bidding on garden, wine and vacation packages.

Friends and youth then helped guide supporters to a massive tent for the evening's live program through our famous high-five tunnel.

The crowd was welcomed by program graduate, Briita Vincent, who was selected for the Friends program in 1994. Though she was a good student, her teacher and other school staff saw that she struggled with issues at home and had difficulty interacting with her peers. They recommended her for the program, and that's when she was introduced to Rachael, who would be her mentor for the next 12 years.

"Without Rachael, my friend of a lifetime and without the generous and caring efforts of Duncan and Cindy Campbell, I wouldn’t be where I’m at," Briita shared with the audience. "I could have fallen down the same path as my mom or ended up in a career I did just for the money. But with Friends at my back supporting me, I have achieved my dreams. My biggest hope is that Friends can keep growing and allowing more kids who have had rough starts to reach their dreams and feel like they can achieve whatever they want with a little help from their friend."

Guest speaker Rebecca Chase, principal at Burton Elementary, served for six years as the principal at Lincoln Park Elementary, one of the three Friends selection schools in Portland. Over that time, she saw the difference a Friend can make in the lives of her students. "When it was time for selection each year, I would hope and pray that all of our kiddos that needed this program would get selected, because I knew that having a Friend in their corner—on their team—could make the difference between a life of struggle and poverty or a life of goals met and dreams achieved."

With only ten live auction packages and a fast-paced special appeal, the crowd's energy stayed high, and the paddles were raised even higher. When all was said and done, the event raised over $2.5 million, setting a new record for the event. Of that, $1.7 million was raised in the special appeal alone.

Before the record-breaking special appeal, Randy Corradine, Director of Education and Equity, whose siblings are program graduates, addressed the audience and Friends of the Children founder, Duncan Campbell. "Duncan, you created this… Everyone in the crowd tonight is here because of you. Everyone on this stage and peppered throughout this space is here because of you. In 25 years, you have impacted thousands of lives, and because of the ripple effect, those impacted lives will impact tens of thousands more lives in the next 25 years."