April 20, 2018 marked our 7th annual fundraising gala! This was truly a spectacular event and over 200 guests came to support Purchased in “Changing the Story” of trafficked girls in Central Indiana.
The evening kicked off with a cocktail hour where the event's attendees mingled and were provided the opportunity to bid on over 50 different Silent Auction items. Brett Luce, Purchased Board Member was the evenings host, while Tim Swarens, the Indianapolis Star’s opinion editor since 2003 who most recently compiled a 16 month focus project on child trafficking called EXPLOITED, was our Key Note Speaker. We were honored to have him join us for the evening and call attention to the role men play in the effort to end modern day slavery. Additionally, the night featured an impact video focusing on the growth of relationships with ALLIES mentors and their mentees as well as an open panel discussion with Board President, Melissa Thompson and ALLIES Coach and Mentor, Laura Coonrod. Guests were finally prompted to call to mind a specific relationship in their life that has helped them achieve the status they hold today. With thankfulness and gratitude filling the hearts and minds of the event's attendees, we were reminded that most of the girls Purchased serves are not always afforded these same circumstances, and thus the importance of the ALLIES Mentorship program.
Every year, Purchased is proud to honor an outstanding volunteer dedicated to empowering survivors and bringing an end to trafficking in our city. This year, Purchased was proud to honor Keri Milauskas with this special award! Keri has been volunteering with Purchased for quite some time, sits on the development committee, and is the chair of the Kick for One Kickball Tournament. We are grateful to Keri and dedication to our vision!
Of course, a key part of our annual Gala is to raise funds for education, awareness, and prevention of human trafficking in Indiana. We are pleased to share that together the event raised more than $28,500 which will directly impact the girls in our programs! These funds came from table sponsorships, individual ticket sales, and the silent auction, featuring items donated from local artists, local and national businesses, and restaurants. With the assistance of our partners we were able to exceed our goals!
The 7th annual Illuminate Gala was truly an event to celebrate Purchased and what happens when our programs, volunteers, community partners, and local communities come together to combat human trafficking. Thank you to all of our members, volunteers, and guests who joined us at the Gala. We appreciate your dedication to our cause and look forward to a fantastic 2019 Illuminate Gala!