Since 1866, the work done by the staff and supporters of The Floating Hospital has been nothing less than an act of love, and celebrating that at an in-person event is long overdue. Forget the typical parade of speeches: This event will feel more like a fun, rollicking cocktail party thrown by a friend, with music by the Duke Ellington Legacy Band, led by the grandson of the legendary musician.
It’s also, of course, the chance to connect and meet with the people who do the on-the-ground work. “Our event is always about us and the work we do; it’s not about an honoree. That’s the distinctive, unifying factor—we’re inviting you to our house for dinner and supplying entertainment and talking about the relationship between you and us. And that’s why our event always has appeal and that’s why it’s so important,” Granahan says.
Nonprofit consultant Virginia Keim, who’s been working with the organization on fundraising strategies, says, “To meet the people who are running the programs and hear from them in an informal, individual way about why they got into this work and what it means to them, is a human experience … you build a collegiality that can’t be created on a Zoom screen.”
In addition to raising funds for the clinic through ticket sales, there will be a paddle raise with a range of items that directly impact the clinic’s patients: in-shelter therapy and counseling sessions, life-skills and job workshops, and meals for various workshop/community initiatives. The paddle raise offerings partially support salaries and training of key positions in the clinic’s new life-skills assistance program: two case workers who help women navigate the complexities of applying for housing and other benefits, and training so they may get their families on a stable path.
The benefit is especially critical after a pause from traditional fundraising events and at a time costs have skyrocketed in health care. “People think it’s just the supply chain and the micro-chips experiencing shortages, but it’s healthcare, too,” Granahan said. “With Covid not exactly over, the healthcare process is now more labor intensive,” he explained, “The basic economics of how we do things are different now, and everything from power costs to consumable supplies is vastly more expensive and more difficult to get.”
“A return to events like this gives us a chance to tell our story, which has taken on twists and turns over the past two years of a pandemic,” Granahan said, adding, “and now that story—a version of which we’ve been telling for some 155 years—is more critical to more people than ever before.”