What ensures a charity event's success?
Just ask JW Marriott who's recent grand opening of the JW Marriott San Antonio Hill Country Resort & Spa and charity gala event raised over $900,000 to support wounded warriors and their families.
Indeed, all $900,000 raised from this past weekend's star-studded "Grand Opening Salute Gala" will be donated to the national Fisher House Foundation, Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum, and The Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund, which support military service men and women that have been injured in the line of duty.
So what goes into a successful event?
It doesn't hurt to start with a highly anticipated opening of the world's largest JW Marriott Resort. And then add in a concert featuring three generations of country music legends -- John Rich, Wynonna, and Kenny Rogers -- and include celebrities like NBA Hall of Famer, David Robinson. Finally, choose an incredibly worthy cause, and then you're set.
"This is a very special property in the JW Marriott Resort group," said Arthur Coulombe, general manager of the JW Marriott San Antonio Hill Country Resort & Spa, in a news release. "San Antonio is known as Military City USA, so what better way to honor the brave men and women who protect and serve our country everyday. We are dedicating the Grand Opening Salute of the resort to our Wounded Warriors and the organizations that care for them and their families."
I spoke with Ken Fisher, founder of Fisher House Foundation and Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund, before the event to get more insight into the work they do.
"I think it's going to be a wonderful event, Marriot has been incredibly supportive throughout the entire planning process," Fisher said. "We've finally embraced the idea that saying 'thanks' isn't enough anymore for these men and women in the military. We bailed out businesses last year because they were too big to fail. We can't fail these people. We owe them a lot more."
The Fisher House Foundation donates "comfort homes" to families of injured soliders undergoing medical treatment. The homes, located on the grounds of major military and VA medical centers, are maintained by the military once built, and allow family members to be close to their loved ones during that stressful period of time. More than 130,000 families have stayed at a Fisher House since its founding 20 years ago.
Their work hasn't gone unnoticed. In addition to Marriott's support, President Barack Obama recently put a spotlight on the organization with his $250,000 donation from his $1.4 million Nobel Peace Prize award money.
"I was floored and speechless when I got the news the day it was announced, and I'm usually never speechless," laughed Fisher. "We're incredibly thankful to the President. It's a great endorsement for the work we do."
"Holidays, birthdays & anniversaries have been celebrated with tears and smiles with people who truly understand what the other person is experiencing."
- Kamryn Jaroszewski