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June 23, 2020 - excerpted from CandidCandace.com click here to view the original article

VIRTUAL FUNDRAISERS: GETTING CREATIVE WITH MISERICORDIA

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"These are the times that try men's souls."

Amen to that Thomas Paine. This crisis and moment in time will be life-changing for many. In a recent (Monmouth University) poll, 61% of people say they will be making permanent changes moving forward. I don't know what this new normal will look like and it's unnerving for a control freak like me. I don't know how comfortable people will be in larger crowds so where will that leave nonprofits and their critical fundraisers?



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Congrats to Misericordia Heart of Mercy on its first virtual fundraiser held on Saturday, June 20 that raised a whopping $1,405,000! This year marked the 60th Misericordia Family Association Benefit which still turned out to be very clever, heartwarming and fulfilling in terms of dollars raised, albeit virtually. The event had been planned and coordinated by Jim Capraro with support from the benefit committee and staff in less than 90 days! The 90 minute event, with lots of cool moving parts, opened with longtime supporter Lou Manfredini (WGN-TV home repair expert) welcoming guests. The "virtual cocktail session" from 6-7 pm, featured pianists Charlie Carpenter and Holly Jennings (co-chair) and

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Misericordia's Lois Gates with auctioneer Greg "G-Man" Dellinger.
guitarist Jim Splithoff, who performed as silent auction items scrolled across the screen. The program portion of the event opened cleverly with the Star Wars theme followed by a video flyover of the U.S. Navy Blue Angels in a salute to Misericordia's essential workers. Father Jack Clair offered a blessing before

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Co-chair Holly Jennings with her son, a resident at Misericordia.
a musical salute to Sister Rosemary Connelly (Misericordia's fabulous and much loved executive director for over 50 years) was performed in the Highland Cathedral with the Shannon Rovers and organist Charlie Carpenter. (All appropriately socially distanced). Supporters appearing

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Caroline Kennedy congratulated the nonprofit via video.
in the video included Caroline Kennedy, Mike Ditka, Joe Maddon, Mayor Lori Lightfoot, co-chairs Holly Jennings and Beth Merlo (with their families), Laurie and Bill McCarthy (MFA chairs), New York Giants Saquon Barkley and Grant Haley and more. Lois Gates (assistant executive director in charge of development) and Mary Pat O'Brien (director and CFO) joined auctioneer Greg

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NY Giants' Saquon Barkley and Grant Haley.
"G-Man" Dellinger during the fundraising portion of the event. Sister Rosemary said, "Tonight is a celebration of our loving devotion to all our children and adults who call Misericordia home. We have the best family organization i;n the country. The reason Misericordia is the beautiful home it is today is because we are a community of dreamers. We believe that, not only do our residents have a right to life, but to one worth living. And, although our residents can't create a good life for themselves, once it is theirs, they

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Residents from Misericordia's Walsh Slattery Home help with a raffle.
become the gift-givers. Our residents are being cared for tenderly and lovingly and every day our staff creativerowth, each to the best of their abilities." To date, Misericordia cares for over 600 children and adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities with a staff of 1,000+ across a 31-acre campus, with a new drive-by Misericordia Hearts & Flour Bakery being planned now.

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