The Trenton MFRC will be hosting their 12th annual Invisible Ribbon Gala on Saturday, May 7, featuring many new additions. Themed around the Air Show’s celebration of the 75th anniversary of the British Commonwealth Training Plan, the gala will transport guests back to the 1940s.
With the wing band playing throughout the evening, this year guests will enjoy a variety of new additions to the gala. For the first time, the Wing Commander, Col. Colin Keiver, and his wife will be hosting a VIP cocktail hour before the gala begins, giving sponsors a chance to interact with this year’s guest speaker, MGen David Wheeler, and Col. Keiver.
Another new addition this year are gala ambassadors assigned to each of the sponsor tables.
“We wanted to up our game on how we treat our sponsors, in particular because we have such an amazing community. Each year when we get into this time period I’m shocked at the amount of support that just comes rolling through the door and it starts before we even begin to ask,” said Tamara Kleinschmidt, Trenton MFRC Executive Director.
The gala ambassadors are tasked with giving the sponsors individual attention to answer any questions they might have and share their military experiences with.
“Anytime I interact with sponsors they have a million questions about what are the things military families think about…this way they’ll be able to have someone assigned to them that they can ask anything,” added Kleinschmidt.
Kleinschmidt explained that a diverse group of individuals have been chosen as gala ambassadors, making it easy to pair them with a sponsor.
Making connections in the community is one of the main goals of the Invisible Ribbon Gala, and the benefits, says Kleinschmidt.
“It’s important to have the flexibility to respond to the communities needs and that’s what fundraising funds gives us. But beyond that, the community partnerships, and the outreach that we do and the connections that we make to the business community, and the community at large that we are living in, is really the benefit. It far exceeds the amount of money that is actually raised. Helping the community understand what a military family is and what their experiences are like,” said Kleinschmidt.
The Trenton MFRC hopes to exceed the fund raising amount from last year which was close to $87,000. This year’s auction items include a Via Rail trip to Quebec City, a trip to Cuba, dinner on a C-17 and a VIP package for the Snowbird’s air show at the end of June.
The funds raised from this year’s gala will go to starting up programs at the Trenton MFRC satellite sites. The Trenton MFRC is expanding to sites in both Belleville and the Batawa Frankfort area. The MFRC is expanding in hopes to become more accessible to military families.
“We started to really take a look at the stats and where people were living. In the last 20 years, military families have shifted from living either on base or very close to this year the new stat is that 85 per cent of families are living off-base and far more dispersed than before. So, that was really clear. When you add in transportation issues and space issues we wanted to make sure that we were accessible, and that was a strategic priority set by the board,” explained Kleinschmidt.
The MFRC hopes to “have a solid footprint” in both areas by the end of 2016.
The Trenton MFRC will also be hosting an online auction via Facebook from April 21 to May 2. Auction items range from gift certificates to pieces of art.
The Invisible Ribbon Gala will be held on Saturday, May 7 at the National Air Force Museum of Canada.
To take part in the online auction or for more information visit the Invisible Ribbon Gala website. (http://www.invisibleribbon.ca)