From the red carpet photo booth and lamb canapes to warm, to tableside conversations and generous donations, this year’s Hard Hat & Black Tie Dinner and Auction was a tremendous success. Together, we raised a total of $577,280!
The night kicked off with our biggest-ever silent auction in the Portland Art Museum’s sunken ballroom, where guests bid on over 50 packages donated by local proprietors. Hard Hat veterans rubbed shoulders with Habitat family newcomers and new ties were formed in support of affordable homeownership.
“I really feel for the families that have been displaced by the rising rents here in Portland,” said Shon Kim, Habitat for Humanity supporter. “I’m new to Habitat and this is a great mission to support. I’m very happy to be here.”
That festive spirit continued upstairs where the talented hosts Drew Carney and Johnna Wells rallied the crowd. Determined bidders won spectacular packages, including trips to Bali and France; and a whole crew of friends will join the Carters at next year’s Carter Work Project in Nashville, where people from around the country will build stability and self-reliance through affordable homeownership.
“That is what we are here to do,” CEO Steve Messinetti declared to the captivated crowd. “To help people realize their potential. To remove the obstacles in their path. In fact, this year, with your help, we are planning to break ground on 50 homes, a new record for us, for over 200 moms, dads, grandparents, and kids right here in Portland.”
One of those families is the Ou/Chen family who will move into their new home in Brooklyn Pines this year. YanFen and Xiaoyun share one bedroom with their son, Koby, and daughter, Kiana, in a four bedroom house they live in with 10 extended family members. Like many Portland families, lack of space and rising rents led them to double up in dwellings, making daily life constrained. When they found out their application for Habitat for Humanity’s homeownership program was accepted, they were overjoyed. They knew they were on their journey to securing a home for their family and they could finally flourish.
“In the course of my sweat equity hours with Habitat, I learned three things,” YanFen addressed the attendees. “First, I gained more knowledge. I have learned how to use various tools while building my home. Second, from Habitat volunteers I’ve learned we have to make use of our talents and apply them in useful places. And finally, I’ve learned about love. Everyone I know at Habitat is so good, so passionate, and so kind. I have learned so much and finally come to understand the meaning of living!”
For YanFen and her family, affordable homeownership is life-changing. It means their son and daughter can have a space to express themselves fully and grow without limits. It means YanFen and Xiaoyun can build a future for themselves, independently, and be living proof of the American Dream.
It’s because of the acts of kindness from every Habitat supporter that make this dream possible. This year’s Hard Hat & Black Tie Dinner and Auction was a success because of the dedication of a community that believes everyone deserves a decent and affordable place to call home. When we gather on nights like this, we remember why we uplift our neighbors: because we know that through strength and self-reliance, people are able to share their gifts freely and continue to build a better tomorrow.
We thank each and every attendee, volunteer, and staff member who contributed to making this night so special. We hope to see you all next year. ‘Til then!
Check out more photos from the event on our Facebook.