New gala hauls in $350,000

Greg Hetherington, Gala for the Kids master of ceremonies, left, shares a laugh with Kevin Owen, Children’s Treatment Centre Foundation vice-chair at the recent Gala for the Kids. The inaugural event raised more than $350,000.

Organizers of the Gala for the Kids are all smiles in the wake of the inaugural event.

Mike Genge, president of the Foundation of the Children’s Treatment Centre of Chatham-Kent, said the gala, which took place April 1, ultimately raised in excess of $350,000.

That tally included a $250,000 donation from the local Rotary Club.

Genge said the gala, which took place at the Chatham Armoury, saw 150 people attend.

“It really turned out well. Our live auction went at least 30-40-per-cent more than I thought it was going to do,” he said. “We ended up selling three trips to Italy and three trips to Africa, along with other trips to places around North America. Everybody wants to travel. We were able to triple down on some of these adventures, and people went for them.”

With the travel bug nipping at some gala participants, the food bug bit everyone. Genge said the Chilled Cork handled all the food and provided a forest menu on a night that sported a forest theme.

“It was Cornish game hen, wild boar, beef ribs…they ended the night with a huge seafood and charcuterie bar,” Genge said. “It was amazing. There was so much food that we even handed out some take-out containers.”

New Jersey’s B Street Band, a Bruce Springsteen cover group, led the entertainment on the night.

Mere days prior to the event, the Rotary Club of Chatham reached out to the treatment centre’s foundation to advise them of the plan to donate $250,000 towards the Butterfly Building Campaign – the effort to build a new, larger treatment centre. Genge thought it would be appropriate to make the announcement of the funding at the gala.

“We asked them to bring some members and we held the cheque presentation that night,” he said.

“The Rotary Club of Chatham is thrilled to support the Children’s Treatment Centre Foundation in their new build,” said Jennifer Hill, Rotary Club of Chatham president, in a media release. “Giving back to the community and supporting our local kids has always been a cornerstone of our club, and we are excited to continue this mission in supporting the CTC.”

This year marked the first time in two decades the foundation was not involved in the Festival of Giving, a larger-scale event that was a mainstay for the foundation’s fundraising. Genge said the rebranding has events focused on “our kids,” with the gala leading the way.

Festival of Giving is still alive and well, however, proceeds from this year’s coming event earmarked for the Youth Wellness Hub in Chatham. Learn more at

The Foundation of the Children’s Treatment Centre also announced its Butterfly Build Network at the gala. Genge said it’s a program where people can donate monthly to the build effort.

“For anyone who would donate a minimum of $100 a month, they would get a free ticket to the gala next year,” he said.

One in five children in Chatham-Kent access services the CTC provides. The Butterfly Building Campaign supports the development of the new 55,000 sq. ft. facility to be built on McNaughton Avenue in Chatham.


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