Gala 2020 Goes Virtual

Categories: Events

Get Inspired by the Roaring ’20s

So, what happens when COVID-19 makes it impossible for 1,000 supporters to gather, eat, drink and be generous at the annual Connecticut Children’s Gala? The Gala and Bid for Kids goes virtual!

“Connecticut Children’s has continued to do amazing work for children and families throughout the pandemic,” said Kristina Bontempo, Gala Planning Committee Chair. “Supporting the hospital has never been more important, so our committee members got creative to offer our Gala sponsors and guests an amazing virtual experience, in the safety and comfort of their own homes.”

Bid for Kids

Jim Gaffigan
Five-time Grammy nominated comedian, actor, writer and producer Jim Gaffigan will bring his unique brand of family-friendly humor to Virtual Gala 2020.

This year’s Bid for Kids appeal will support the work Connecticut Children’s is doing to address the pediatric behavioral health crisis in Connecticut.

“My wife—Dr. Barbara Rugo Focht—and I are proud to serve as co-chairs for this year’s Bid for Kids appeal with Nicole and Skip Kodak, Executive Vice President of LEGO Americas,” said Dr. Glenn Focht, President of Connecticut Children’s Specialty Group.

“During normal times, toxic stress and mental disorders have a devastating effect on children and families,” said Dr. Focht. “During the COVID-19 pandemic, children are isolated from their friends, they see their parents under tremendous stress and they witness loss in their communities. At the same time, many of the behavioral health services children might access through school or community agencies have been temporarily suspended.”

Add to the mix the stigma associated with seeking behavioral health care, and it’s the perfect storm: Kids are at risk.

“Connecticut Children’s is building programs to make it as normal to care for a child’s behavioral health as to care for their physical health,” Dr. Focht said. “It’s long overdue, and we are grateful that Bid for Kids will help with this effort.”


Virtual Gala Highlights

Highlights of Virtual Gala 2020 include a gourmet wine and gift basket (with a few extra surprises) delivered to attendees’ homes before the November 14 online program. During the pre-event festivities from 7 pm to 8 pm, guests can visit virtual rooms where they will find engaging activities, including a signature cocktail tutorial, interactive party games, virtual networking, facilitated conversations with Connecticut Children’s physicians and leaders, plus access to the ever-popular silent auction.

Attendees may host small gatherings in their own homes or enjoy the evening sans guests—whatever they are comfortable doing. And while participants can enjoy the evening in a T-shirt and pajama pants, prizes will be awarded for best-dressed virtual attendees attired in 1920s fashion.

Virtual Gala 2020 promises an entertaining live program from 8 pm to 9 pm. “Our celebrity headliner—comedian Jim Gaffigan—will give guests a reason to smile and celebrate,” said Bree Pelczar, Director of Philanthropic Events. The program will also feature a live auction for unique packages, inspiring stories from patient ambassadors and the annual “Bid for Kids” appeal.

Virtual Gala 2020 will be the bee’s knees when you put on your glad rags, mix up a few 1920s-inspired cocktails and get ready to kick up your heels with the Charleston. Visit our site for more inspirations for your look, menu and playlist. Virtual tickets will be available through November 12, 2020.



Connecticut Children’s is committed to stripping away the stigma from behavioral health issues and making that care immediate and accessible…before a child is in crisis.

To learn more about Connecticut Children’s plans and the behavioral health crisis, click here.

To make a life-saving gift in support of Bid for Kids, click here.