February 3, 2021
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – Friends of the Smokies’ 18th Annual Evergreen Ball raised over $630,000 Saturday evening. Due to the pandemic, this year’s event was live-streamed on YouTube and included live and silent auctions online.
“We are so grateful and humbled by our incredible donor community who came together — virtually — to support our beloved park in such an amazing way,” said Senior Special Projects Director Lauren Gass.
Gass said Saturday’s event, hosted by Dino Cartwright and Nan Kelley, “kept the spirit of the Evergreen Ball alive” with an interactive, live-streamed show that featured pre-taped segments, including a welcome video filmed at Cherokee Country Club, where the gala is traditionally held.
The ‘Forever Places’ campaign was introduced by Friends’ co-founder, Hon. Gary Wade, who led a live donor drive where participants and businesses contributed over $100,000 to kick off the campaign. Viewers also had the opportunity to support the Smokies during the live auction where they bid on luxury vacation packages through a mobile app. The event concluded a week-long online silent auction.
“Every year, the Evergreen Ball is critical in ensuring that Friends of the Smokies can fulfill its commitment to funding several park programs and projects,” said Executive Director and CEO Tim Chandler. “Over the last 18 years, the Evergreen Ball has raised nearly $8 million. We are deeply grateful for the participants, donors and sponsors who made it possible for us to continue the Evergreen Ball’s tradition of celebration and support,” Chandler said.
The virtual Evergreen Ball was presented by Toyota Knoxville and Lexus of Knoxville. Sponsors included Boyd’s Jig & Reel, Citizens National Bank, Blalock Companies, Home Federal Bank, Ole Smoky Moonshine, SmartBank, Fifth Third Bank, Clayton Homes, Charlie and Moll Anderson Family Foundation, Jim and Natalie Haslam, The Haslam Family Foundation, Mountain Commerce Bank, Pilot Flying J, The Trust Company, Robert and Margaret Hill, Cindi and Pete DeBusk, Martin & Company Investment Counsel, NHC Place Farragut, Phillips & Jordan, The Swag, Thermal Label Warehouse, Windy Hill Farm & Preserve, Sugarland Cellars, Realty Executives, Stowers, Anakeesta, Shafer Insurance Agency, Young, Williams & Ward Attorneys at Law, LeConte Title, and Beverage Control Inc. (BCI).
Both Gass and Chandler said that while this year’s virtual event was a success, they look forward to continuing the tradition by gathering in-person with ‘Friends’ for the 2022 Evergreen Ball.
Friends of the Smokies is an official nonprofit partner of Great Smoky Mountains National Park and has raised over $70 million to support park programs and projects. Learn more at FriendsoftheSmokies.org.