Y Gala Raises $95,000 For Financial Assistance And Youth Programs

The Y’s PROM & AID was held at La Fonda in Santa Fe on April 23.  Photo by Jocelyn Chapman/YMCA

JazzCombo Photo Cutline: Los Alamos Jazz Combo provided live entertainment. Members include Jan McDonald, trumpet; Mike Wagner, trumpet; Jerry Morzinski, trombone; Wendy Keffler, saxophone; Tom Rheam, keyboard; Ralph Marque, percussion; Deniece Korzekwa, bass; and vocalists Joy Reynolds and Rene LeClaire. Photo by Jocelyn Chapman/YMCA


With an abundance of caution due to the ongoing Pandemic, leadership at The Family YMCA decided to host a down-sized fundraising event to support financial assistance and new youth programs on April 23, at La Fonda in Santa Fe. Formally known as the Red & Black Ball in honor of the Y’s previous brand colors, the event emerged this year as the PROM & AID Gala, a reflection of the sentiment that the event is an “adult prom” as well as a fundraiser.  

Y CEO Chris Daniels said the difficulty of gauging pandemic infections caused the Y to invite sponsors only and limit their table size, but that he hopes to open the event to community members next year. “Our major sponsors continued to support the Y during the last two years when the Y held no event,” Daniels said, “but the Y’s Board and I were especially pleased that community leaders showed up in-person this year.”

Board President Karen Easton said the Y hopes to raise $175,000 this year for financial assistance, two new middle school youth programs, and the Española YMCA Teen Center. “The Gala took us to 54 percent of our goal, raising $95,000.” Despite fewer attendees, Easton said a matching grant by the Delle Foundation and a paddle-raise helped the Y have its third most successful event.

“Donations are still welcome and needed,” she said. “We are fundraising to ensure 50 children can be in Y After School and Camp programs, and supporting a nutrition and exercise program for middle school youth, as well as a de-escalation program called Worth Defending.  We also raise funds to support the Espanola YMCA Teen Center. Our fundraising goal will almost be divided by thirds to support these programs,” Easton said.

Chairman’s Roundtable donors included Centerra Group, Century Bank, El Parasol, Los Alamos Daily Post, Los Alamos Medical Center, Los Alamos National Laboratory-Triad, N3B, Lou Santoro State Farm Insurance. Champions of Youth Donors include Los Alamos Children’s Dentistry, Merrick & Company and TechSource, Inc.

Daniels said the that while the “prom’s” theme was Under the Stars, the real theme of the night was to express gratitude.

A total of 20 donors from Los Alamos, Albuquerque, Santa Fe and Ghost Ranch donated silent auction items. Silent item donations were given by Jemez Bath Soaks, the Roger Waterman Estate, Karen Easton, Ben Sandoval, Jeff & Bobbi Hayes, the Museum of New Mexico Foundation, Diego Torres, Carmen Salazar, and Bathtub Row Brewing Co-Op. Donors to the Live Auction include Classic Air Medical, Los Alamos Fire Department, LANL Director Thom Mason, Ghost Ranch, Los Alamos Teen Center and Boese Brother Brewing Company,  Leslie Bucklin, Linda and Paul Daly, the New Mexico Isotopes, Ben Sandoval, Karen Easton, Deb Huling, Veronika Magnelind, and Los Alamos Daily Post. Photo by Jocelyn Chapman/YMCA