President's Gala 2020
No one attended, but everyone had a great time!
With social distancing and gathering restrictions making an in-person event impossible, the Farmingdale Foundation and Office for Development & Alumni Engagement faced a difficult challenge in their fundraising efforts — and came up with a unique solution.
In effect, the message was: “Come to the Gala we’re not having.”
So the President’s On-Demand Gala was born, saving the Foundation’s signature fundraising effort to support the College during the unusual times created by the COVID-19 pandemic. A pre-recorded virtual event accessible to alumni, business partners, and other benefactors of FSC whenever they chose to view, the Gala had all the trappings of a live event, but without guests in formal dress seated at tables in a ballroom. And so it was billed as “The Best Event You Won’t Attend.”
To create a fun and engaging event, each guest was mailed a customized “Gala Box” with the “wine & cheese, when you please” theme, featuring champagne, an FSC signature wine glass, and a charcuterie board. A raffle ticket was tucked away in each box, giving the participant a chance to win an exciting prize. A silent auction was available to bid on sports memorabilia and group experiences. The program was a production that premiered “on demand” in November as the gift boxes simultaneously were arriving on guests’ doorsteps.
An entertaining video of the program created by the design team in the Office for Institutional Advancement showcased the best of Farmingdale in 2020, forecasting a relentless pursuit of excellence in 2021. The video featured two stirring performances from Billy Joel band member and singer/songwriter Michael DelGuidice. The virtual Gala was indeed a celebration of the entire Farmingdale campus community and its perseverance, determination, and steadfast commitment to the College’s mission and its students.
“The success of the virtual gala reflects the remarkable energy, dedication, and creativity of the Foundation and alumni staffs,” President Nader said. “The unique event attracted more attention and institution-wide support than ever.”
In fact, over 300 loyal Farmingdale alumni, faculty, staff, corporate sponsors, and friends participated. Over $130,000 was raised to support areas of the College’s greatest needs.
“I watched the presentation last night — and wow! It was spectacular,” said Jerome D’Antone, Vice President at TD Bank. “All of TD’s guests loved it and were raving about the Gala box.”
He was just one of the guests who was happy he did — or, rather, didn’t — attend.