Guests at The Salvation Army’s “Doing The Most Good” luncheon see award conferred and witness riveting local success story illustrating organization’s impact
AUSTIN, TX (May 4, 2017) – Guests at the Doing The Most Good Luncheon, sponsored by The Cain Foundation, May 3, came to the elegant JW Marriott expecting a nice luncheon in support of The Salvation Army, and what they got was so much more – a riveting and inspiring program including live music, visual art and storytelling to showcase how The Salvation Army changes lives. By the end of the program, the crowd of 500 had donated $186,000 in sponsorships and donations to provide emergency shelter and wraparound services for local families experiencing homelessness.
Emceed by Bob Cole and hosted by Thresa Nasi and Allison Angell, the Doing The Most Good luncheon began with Major Andrew Kelly, Area Commander, inviting the crowd to celebrate his announcement of the successful completion of phase two of the capital campaign – its first in more than 27 years. The Salvation Army has raised more than $17 million to fund four projects which will address the needs of a growing population of families experiencing homelessness, provide spiritual care and youth outreach, provide a women’s rehabilitation program and renovate the downtown social service center and emergency shelter.
Local philanthropist, Dick Rathgeber, honorary Colonel of The Salvation Army and past recipient of the Doing The Most Good award, presented Dwight Thompson with this year’s Doing The Most Good Award. Thompson, a long-time supporter and Advisory Board member, has been instrumental in leading the successful capital campaign as immediate past chair of the Advisory Board.
Prestigious award conferred on philanthropist and leader Dwight Thompson
The program to follow dazzled in a gritty, hopeful and resonant way. Through video, live music and visual artistry on two stages, Ramy Antoun and Creative Arts Group presented Roxanne Strong’s amazing success story, illustrating her journey from addiction, homelessness and despair to sobriety, and healing. The riveted crowd then watched as Strong walked on stage to finish telling her story live. She recounted coming out of the woods where she’d been living, taking a bus downtown and walking up the steps of The Salvation Army emergency shelter where, she said, “Everything changed for me”. Now ten years clean and sober, Strong works at that very shelter, welcoming clients much as she received her welcome more than a decade ago. When her family, with whom she has been reconciled, joined her onstage and presented her with a gorgeous bouquet of flowers, there was hardly a dry eye in the house.
Throughout the story, artist Aaron Darling was busy painting four panels and surprised the crowd by putting them all together to form Strong’s story illustrated inside The Salvation Army’s famous shield.
Salvation Army Area Commander Major Andrew Kelly acknowledged the generosity of the luncheon attendees and other donors.
“The luncheon guests demonstrated their support for The Salvation Army by showing up today,” said Kelly. “All donors are crucial to success stories like Roxanne’s, and it’s important we get stories like hers out to illustrate that once individuals walk through our doors, we are there to help them cross a threshold to successful and productive lives.”