Mercy Health Foundation Fort Smith welcomed 1,100 supporters Dec. 9 to the Fort Smith Convention Center for the return of the first live Charity Ball since 2019. The black-tie optional ball helped the nonprofit organization raise more than $600,000 and included a champagne welcome, dinner, auction and direct appeal, live entertainment by Mitch Rossell and the After Party with Limelight presented by Emerald City Band.
"Every dollar raised stays right here in the River Valley, ensuring that our families, friends and neighbors have access to the compassionate, high-quality health care they need and deserve," organizers say.
The direct appeal that evening focused on Mercy's oncology patients and "ensuring all patients can get the care they need, regardless of transportation barriers. All funds raised are supporting the creation of a dedicated oncology transportation program," organizers say. Guests exceeded Walter O. Caldwell Foundation's gift of $35,000, bringing the total to $90,000.
"Charity Ball is a great way to celebrate the work the foundation does year around. We were so thrilled to be back in person. The energy in the room was off the charts. We are continually blessed by our community's heart and support for Mercy's mission and the health of our region," says Patrick Pendleton, executive director of Mercy Health Foundation Fort Smith.
"Mercy Fort Smith has been an integral part of the health of our region since the first Sisters of Mercy arrived here in 1853. Today, we serve nearly a half-million people, providing comprehensive primary, specialized, and acute medical services for a significant portion of Western Arkansas and Eastern Oklahoma. Since 2008, Mercy has invested more than $200 million in the River Valley region, including the creation of Mercy Clinic, the completion and integration of the Orthopedic Hospital, the Cooper Clinic integration, the creation of the Rehabilitation Hospital, and much more -- all to grow medical access in a region historically and significantly underserved. Now, we're embarking on a new initiative to transform emergent and critical care services. Construction is already well under way on an approximately $180 million, 165,000-square-foot emergency department and intensive care unit tower that will enable us to care for 75,000 patients per year," according to a news release.
Choctaw Casino and Resort Pocola was the gala's presenting sponsor.
Other sponsors included McCarthy; Newton's Jewelers; Diamond Center; WW&L; Pernod Ricard; KFSM; Uncork'd Wine, Crafts, Tapas; Homewood Suites by Hilton; Quest Diagnostics; William Thomas and May Pittman; and Hennesey Foundation.
For more event photos -- nwadg.com/photos/society.
Columnist Carin Schoppmeyer can be reached by email at [email protected]
At a Glance
Who: Mercy Health Foundation Fort Smith
What: The annual benefit ball helped the foundation raise more than $600,000.
When: Dec. 9
Where: Fort Smith Convention Center
Next: Charity Ball, Dec. 8, 2023
Information: (479) 314-1133 or mercyhealthfoundation.net/communities/fortsmith/