Flutes of champagne welcomed guests to the 18th Annual Night to MATTER Gala on October 13, kicking off a festive evening celebrating the collaborative work of MATTER with our partners, donors and friends in bringing health and hope to millions of people next door and around the world.
A unique aspect of this year’s Gala was meaningful opportunities for our guests to engage in the work of MATTER. While exploring MATTER’s newly renovated space and dining on amazing food, guests participated in interactive exhibits that highlighted the impact of our many projects.
One of the most popular experiences of the evening was touring the new MATTER Innovation Hub. Kids especially enjoyed interacting with the fun and engaging educational technology. The first international Innovation Hub was recently placed in Haiti, and domestically a hub was installed at Cristo Rey High School in Minnesota. Future plans include an Innovation Hub going to a school in Zimbabwe. (Watch for a blog coming soon about this exciting new initiative!)
Guests were also given the opportunity to pack MATTERbox Snack Packs for our community partners. Matt Rabe, Community Engagement Officer with the Brooklyn Park Police Department, was on hand to explain how the snack packs are given to people facing hunger or food insecurity. Understanding how they’re used in the community made the packing experience even more meaningful. Said one surprised guest, “I didn’t expect we would get to do something impactful for the community during the Gala. It was awesome!”
In MATTER’s warehouse, amidst the towering shelves of medical equipment and supplies, MATTER President Quenton Marty opened the program with an important announcement that set the stage for the rest of the evening,
“Over the last three years, MATTER’s strategic goal was to expand access to health for 10 million people worldwide. We are pleased to report we exceeded that goal and have now developed bold new initiatives to continue growing our impact around the globe.”
MATTER’s new three-year strategic initiatives, beginning in 2019, are: nationwide expansion of the MATTERbox program; Zimbabwe health and nutrition efforts; and the Innovation Hub launch.
Dennis and Megan Doyle, who founded MATTER 18 years ago, were recognized with the Legacy Award, honoring them for the vision and foresight to launch a nonprofit focused on helping others both locally and internationally.
Also honored was General Mills as the 2018 Company that MATTERS for our collaboration that resulted in 30,000 snack packs being distributed in communities around the country, as well as over 1o,000 boxes packed with nearly 30,000 pounds of food for the people of Venezuela and hurricane victims in Puerto Rico.
The First Lady of Zimbabwe, Her Excellency Auxillia Mnangagwa, was recognized with the Humanitarian Award for the work of her Angel of Hope Foundation to increase access to health and nutrition for the people of Zimbabwe. While she could not attend in person, Mrs. Mnanagagwa sent a heartfelt message of thanks and expressed optimism for the impact the partnership with MATTER will have on the future of her country.
After many inspiring speakers and compelling stories of impact, the evening of celebration ended with dancing to live music by The Covers, more scrumptious food from the Bushel and Peck Food Truck, and s’mores outside by a roaring bonfire – perfect for the chilly Minnesota night.
Reflecting on an amazing evening, and looking ahead to the future, MATTER Board Chair Casey Carl commented,
“MATTER is an innovative and resourceful nonprofit. We are confident that we will continue to make a remarkable impact throughout the world as a result of our new strategic initiatives. We look forward to sharing our progress!”
To all of our generous supporters and friends who made the Night to MATTER Gala such a successful and meaningful evening, thank you for joining us.
Check out the fabulous red carpet photos!