In the Twin Cities, the Children’s Minnesota Star Gala is a big night — a night that takes months of planning, powered by a team of influential women who volunteer their time, talents and connections to bring the annual evening to life.
The gala, slated this year for April 18 at the Historic Milwaukee Road Depot in Minneapolis, benefits Children’s Minnesota, a nonprofit and one of the largest pediatric health systems in the nation. The black-tie fete is considered the most high-profile fundraiser in the Twin Cities, drawing nearly 1,000 attendees every year. From the menu to the music to the decor, every detail of the event is guided by the Star Gala’s exceptional committee.
This year’s committee is a team of more than 30 volunteers working closely with the Children’s Minnesota Foundation to bring together entrepreneurs, business leaders and big-hearted humanitarians, all of whom feel moved to champion the mission of Children’s Minnesota.
For the gala’s three co-chairs, it’s personal. Shannon Evenstad, an active member of the Children’s Minnesota Foundation board for more than five years and a volunteer for philanthropic causes throughout the Twin Cities, experienced firsthand the special brand of care delivered by Children’s Minnesota when one of her sons spent time in the ICU with a serious chest infection.
Earlier in her career, co-chair Sara Noznesky was a healthcare lobbyist for Children’s Minnesota. Today, she continues to advocate for the health needs of kids through volunteering and philanthropy. Like Evenstad, she has experienced Children’s Minnesota as a parent, too. Her children have been cared for in the emergency department for everything from stitches to broken bones.
Fellow co-chair Sarah Polovitz, a realtor specializing in luxury homes around Lake Minnetonka, spent time at Children’s Minnesota with her son, who was treated for a rare spider bite. “It was emotional, something we’ll never forget,” she says. “It gave me a firsthand look at all the ways Children’s Minnesota cares for kids and their families beyond medicine — from child life specialists to music therapists. It’s a special place.”
Each year, the gala focuses on a specific area of need, such as advancing genomic medicine or investing in the groundbreaking fetal care program. This year’s event will highlight the life-saving work of the neonatology team, which cares for more than 3,000 newborns — premature, complex and high-risk babies — in the neonatal units of Children’s Minnesota.
Neonatology is the focus of this year’s Children’s Star Gala, the premier black-tie fundraiser for Children’s Minnesota. For nearly 30 years, the Twin Cities philanthropic community has come together to raise millions of dollars for the nonprofit, which relies on generous donors to make possible a kids-first brand of healthcare. This year’s gala is taking place April 18 at the Historic Milwaukee Road Depot in downtown Minneapolis.