Perkins Gala – An Evening of Support and Celebration

Over 200 Perkins supporters joined together at The International on Friday, November 3 for our Evening Under the Stars, Creating Bright Futures Gala. The opportunity to connect with others, support the mission of Perkins and hear speaker Steve Pemberton, Author of A Chance in the World, drew a crowd of Perkins trustees, ambassadors, parents, employees, business associates and friends all dedicated to our work.


Following a reception and dinner, Perkins CEO Michael W. Ames spoke about the importance of the gala. He spoke to Perkins’ 2018-2020 Strategic Plan: Expanding Capabilities for Greater Impact  and thanked the attendees for their steadfast support of our mission and values. The purpose of our gala, he said, is three-fold:

  • As a fundraiser our goal is to raise funds that support Perkins and which enhance the quality of our programming;
  • Second, as a celebration, our goal is to recognize and celebrate our accomplishments, and to share those accomplishments with our supporters; and
  • Third to have a keynote speaker who, through his or her words and story, inspires us to think more deeply about the importance of our work and of our impact on individuals and their families.

Steve Pemberton and Michael Ames

Keynote speaker, Steve Pemberton was introduced by his good friend, and former business partner Chuck Hughes II. Chuck is also Perkins’ past president and a long-time trustee. Chuck spoke of their past working together and of how Steve’s outlook on life led them to own a successful business together, Road to College. He talked about Steve’s resilience, his willingness to fight for what is right, and about his zest for life.

Steve echoed Chuck’s comments on the importance of their friendship by reflecting on how much Chuck’s family has meant to him. “No matter how long I breathe air on this earth, I will never know what it is like to be a part of a family,” Steve said. “Being a part of Chuck’s family tonight brings me great joy, and I am able to imagine what it would be like – if only for a night – to be part of something so grand.”

Attendees sat in rapt attention as Steve spoke about his life in foster care. He talked about how he felt while sitting in a chair in his social worker’s office on Christmas Eve. “I listened to him make phone call after phone call hoping someone would take me in, knowing, the likelihood that no one would,” Steve said. Happily, someone did. “I swore in that moment, I would never let myself be put in that position again,” Steve added. He went on to explain that the reason the man who took him in was called in the first place was because he had once heard him say “if I were to have a son, I hope he is exactly like that young man.”

Steve certainly made an impact as so many joined the line for a personal book signing. There were two groups in the room that evening, those who read A Chance in the World, and those who surely will.

Soon after the event, Steve said, “It was an absolute honor to have been part of Perkins Evening Under the Stars, Creating Bright Futures Gala.  It was a special night made all the more so by the benefactors, supporters, and staff whose commitment to giving a chance reminds us that there is still goodness in the land.”

We express our sincerest thank you to the many individuals and business that made this evening so memorable. Because of you support futures shine brighter at Perkins.