To quantify 4word’s Virtual Gala on Feb. 27, readers should know the following numbers: $200,000 raised, 400 guests in attendance, 10 years of 4word and one single hour.
The Virtual Gala: An Evening with Mary Lou Retton was moderated by motivational speaker Molly Fletcher. Broadcasted from Dallas’ The Slate media studios, the Gala was directed by Emmy-award-winning reporter Shelly Slater, and Toyota produced the event.
As the Gala’s title suggests, guests watched a dialogue between two notable women, Olympic gymnast Retton and celebrity-sports-agent-turned-business-coach Fletcher.
The virtual fundraiser benefited 4word’s mission to help women in the workplace reach their potential with the support of other like-minded women. 4word is a global Christian organization for women to network and mentor one another.
Participants from all over the world had the opportunity to bid on silent auction items and give money with the event’s text-to-donate program. Guests were also gifted engraved champagne flutes.
In all, the evening raised a net $200,000, meeting the charity’s fundraising goal after pivoting in early December from a live event to the virtual Gala. Proceeds support 4word’s online presence via the nonprofit’s blogs and podcasts. The event also supports 4word’s 28 community groups. Finally, a share of the proceeds will contribute to financing 4word’s 10-week mentorship program.
Other sponsors of the Gala include Linda Buford, Locke Lord LLP, Valiant Integrated Services, and Monica and Leland White and Swallowtail Group and FedEx Office.
The Virtual Gala began with a prayer in three languages and testimonies by various 4word members. Both Fletcher and Retton discussed their personal lives and religious experiences within 4word.
Reflecting on the organization’s decade of success, executive director and founder of 4word Diane Paddison said she is excited to see 4word’s prospects.
“We are blessed to have so much interest, excitement, encouragement and support for ten years,” said Paddison.
4word already announced the date of its 2022 4word Gala to be held on Saturday, Feb. 26. Next year’s event will be at the Omni Hotel in Dallas with keynote speaker Tammie Jo Shults, a retired naval aviator and author. Famously, Shults was the captain of Southwest Airlines Flight 1380, which experienced a contained engine failure while en route to Dallas Love Field.