‘A Night of a Million Dreams’ Gala raises $569,896 to support Better Together

Better Together, a nonprofit dedicated to families and children, hosted its ‘A Night of a Million Dreams’ Gala, helping to raise $569,896 to support Better Together’s mission of strengthening families and preventing the need for foster care.

Held Friday, Nov. 10 at the Hyatt Regency Coconut Point in Bonita Springs, the Wizard of Oz-themed gala treated attendees to an evening of dinner, impactful stories, live music from Broadway star Kerry Ellis – best known for her role as Elphaba in the West End and Broadway productions of the musical “Wicked” – and live and silent auctions. The event was chaired by Dr. Alise and David Bartley.

Better Together helps parents who are going through a hard time to keep their kids out of foster care, find work and address the root causes of their struggle so that they can reunite as a family with the tools and support system to thrive. Established in Southwest Florida eight years ago, the nonprofit’s programming has rapidly expanded to reach families in 24 counties across the state. To date, the organization has served over 9,000 children and kept 98% of families served through hosting and mentorship together, while helping 42,000 job seekers across 22 states find employment.

“The community’s support is crucial in our efforts to address the root causes of child neglect and help families navigate the difficulties and challenges that come with life and parenting,” said Megan Rose, CEO of Better Together. “Our goal is to end the foster care crisis in Florida, and we are so thankful for all who contributed to furthering our mission. We are all better together, and together we can help our neighbors find their way home.”

During the event, attendees heard from a single mom, Jenifer Cabrera, and Better Together host parent, Jenn Downes, who helped Cabrera navigate a time of crisis by caring for her son while Cabrera worked to get her life back on track. Thanks to Better Together and the support of the Downes family, Cabrera has grown to be a strong role model for her son and earned her Emergency Medical Technician certification and degree in fire science. Today, she is building a career in the fire department with a continued support system in place.

The event was presented by Gaea Landscaping as The Emerald City Champion sponsor. Additional sponsors included DeAngelis Diamond, LeeCorp Homes and Wilson & Johnson as Lion’s Heart of Gold sponsors; First Horizon Bank, HBK CPAs and Consultants, Omni Financial Services, Priority Marketing, Southern Living Contractors, Southern Oak Wealth Management and TaxSavers as Ruby Slipper sponsors; Florida Gulf Coast University, Hahn Loeser & Parks LLP, Mutual Trust Advisory Group, Tommy Bohanon Foundation and Lee County Sheriff’s Office as Yellow Brick Road sponsors. Other sponsors included Batey Westerlund Real Estate Team, Boatman Ricci, Maughan Himschoot & Associates Law Group, Potter Homes, Priority Business Solutions, Pulte Homes, Roof Right and The Simonelli Real Estate Group. Gulfshore Life was the media sponsor.

To learn more about Better Together and its mission, visit BetterTogetherUS.org

Better Together is a nonprofit organization that helps parents going through a hard time keep their kids out of foster care, find work and address the root causes of their struggle so that they can reunite as a family with the tools and support system to thrive. A privately funded and professionally supported organization, Better Together is made up of volunteers who believe helping people help themselves is the best way to restore dignity and bring families together. Through the Better Families program, families are offered a preventive alternative to foster care while they get the help they need. To date, the program has kept 98% of children served out of foster care. The Better Jobs program was created to address the 76% of families that come to Better Together because of economic hardship tied to unemployment. In addition to community job fairs, the program offers job seekers coaching, guidance, support and encouragement through local church partners. For more information, visit BetterTogetherUS.org.

This article was submitted by a Guest Author of the Above Board Chamber.