A Night Of Fun, Hope And Giving: The Schools For Haiti Gala Celebrated As A Success

It might be an understatement to say that the Schools for Haiti Gala fundraiser was a success. This was the sixth annual gala put on in the Madison area by Doug and Lois Fearing of Fearing’s Audio Video Security. Throughout the night, you could feel a sense of hope in the room, a sense that this event truly was making a major impact in the lives of Haitian children thousands of miles away. As the night began and enthusiastic guests started to pack into the Marriott West, it was evident: this was going to be a successful night.

As the music ended and the wonderful meal was wrapping up, Laura Gallagher, Master of Ceremonies, kicked off what would be an inspiring set of presentations to come. As each person took the stage, it was clear that not only did they want to make a difference in the lives of children in Haiti, the children of Haiti had already made a difference in their lives. Honored guests included Schools for Haiti Co-Founders, Gil and Bonnie Bailie from Florida. Also, Louis Tenior Guerrier, the coordinator of the Education Program of Ventures in People, a voluntary humanitarian organization that has been working in Mirebalais, Haiti for over 30 years, was in attendance. Leah Culver was recognized with the Outstanding Commitment Award. Culver has been part of the Madison Schools for Haiti Gala since it’s inception. She has helped grow the gala to what it is today.

OnTrack Communications staff and clients graciously presented a check of over $30,000 to Schools for Haiti.

Brandon Williams, former All-Big10 Badger and NFL player, spoke on his experience visiting Haiti. Doug Fearing had asked Brandon last year if he wanted to travel to Haiti with him and talk about his experience to the crowd. It isn’t a trip most people ever imagine they’d take. Brandon said he prayed on it and spoke with his wife about the idea. It soon became obvious to Brandon that he couldn’t say no to this “once in a lifetime” opportunity. In February, amidst many unknowns due to the turmoil in Haiti, Brandon and Doug traveled to the poorest country in the western hemisphere. Brandon spoke to the crowd with great passion about his time while in Haiti. As a public speaker and figure, football has always been his “go to” talking point, but these children hadn’t even heard about American football. He was blown away by how intelligent these children were despite the circumstances they were born into. Brandon said most of these children could speak three languages and were so gracious and kind.

If you are not familiar with Schools for Haiti, it now supports approximately 1,800 children in ten schools and a kindergarten with plans to reach many more. A significant number of these children live in make-shift houses and come to school hungry each day. Their mission addresses their most vital needs and provides hope for a better future.

Through a silent and live auction, sponsorships and donations, this gala raised roughly $210,000! During the live ‘Hearts for Haiti’ auction, attendees sponsored/donated for the construction of a new K-12 Campus and specifically met the needs for:

  • Solar Power System
  • 30 KW Generator
  • Computer lab
  • Science lab
  • Books for a year
  • 8 Teacher’s salaries
  • Support for 12 students
  • After-school coaches
  • 21 people committed general support at $100 each
  • 10 Students were sponsored (this is the program where they actually choose a specific child to support for a year)

On top of that, the live auction also brought in money for the organization through the following:

  • Two trips to Haiti
  • One Packer Tailgate party
  • Two African Safaris

“Lois, myself, and Schools for Haiti are so very grateful to all of our wonderful sponsors and attendees for making the 2019 Schools For Haiti Gala an incredible success,” said Doug Fearing. “We’d especially like to thank our featured speaker, Brandon Williams, for making the night very special with his message and insights after visiting Haiti and our schools last February.  Special thanks also to our Gala committee and event volunteers, whom without, the event never could have happened, and also to Lea Culver whom we recognized at the Gala for her past support in helping get the Schools for Haiti Gala where it is today.”