Rainbow Days hosted its 22nd annual Pot of Gold Luncheon at the Hilton Anatole Grand Ballroom on May 3. On this beautiful Friday afternoon, 545 supporters and guests gathered to raise more than $179,000 for Rainbow Days through sponsorships, individual seats, auction bidding, raffle ticket sales and donations.
Held annually since 1997, the Pot of Gold Luncheon is a cheerful and celebratory fundraising event benefiting Rainbow Days’ mission and services. Each year, the luncheon features an inspiring keynote speaker, special performances from the Rainbow Days children, moving program testimonials and silent auction bidding.
The 2019 event did not disappoint: Guests enjoyed an intimate keynote address from Academy Award-winning actress and activist Marlee Matlin. Although Matlin lost her hearing when she was only 18 months old, she never let her challenges dictate her future or deter her dreams; in 1986 at age 21, she became the youngest woman to receive the Academy Award for Best Actress. At the luncheon, Matlin inspired guests with the story of how she pursued her goals and dreams while overcoming adversities, abuse and addiction.
Rainbow Days program participants from Exodus Ministries and Tom Field Elementary School also took to the stage at the 2019 Pot of Gold Luncheon. In honor of Matlin’s presence, the children performed a touching rendition of “This is Me” from “The Greatest Showman” using American Sign Language. Another highlight of the luncheon program was the premiere of Rainbow Days’ new short film, “Reflections of Hope: A Short Film,” which features program participants of the past and present.
Immediately after the film, Sherri Ansley, CEO of Rainbow Days, presented Dr. George W. Fair, UT Dallas Vice President of Diversity and Community Engagement, with the “I Will” Award for his longtime commitment to Rainbow Days through Rainbow Days’ Kids University Program at UTD. More than 300 local homeless children between the ages of 4 and 12 experience a positive, rewarding and educational summer camp experience as they explore different career opportunities throughout the week.
(Photos by Dana Driensky and Rob Wythe/Gittings)