The fourth year was the charm. The Johns Hopkins All Children’s Foundation surpassed its five-year, $1 million pledge to the hospital’s accredited Pediatric Surgical Fellowship Program.
The Foundation raised $325,000 April 1 at its VIP Auction to push overall funds raised for the program past $1 million, a year earlier than promised.
Varun Bhalla, M.D., who in June will become the second pediatric surgical clinical fellow to graduate from the program, is grateful for the support.
“I’ve really enjoyed my fellowship here over the past two years,” Bhalla says. “Great training, people, mentors and patients. Nothing could have prepared me better for the real world, and I’m very grateful for the opportunity to pursue my passion.”
VIP Auction, one of the Foundation’s most popular and talked-about fundraisers is always a sellout, bringing together more than 400 business owners, physicians, professionals, board members, donors and more for dinner and an opportunity to bid on more than 1,000 items often ranging from Super Bowl tickets to vacations to jewelry. It takes more than 50 volunteers and months of planning to make the event possible. VIP Auction has raised $1.4 million to benefit the hospital since 2012.
All funds raised by the VIP Auction Committee go toward the fellowship program, which is key to securing Johns Hopkins All Children’s position as a top-tier teaching hospital. Also key is that this fellowship is accredited by the Graduate Medical Education Residency Review Committee for Surgery. Upon program completion, many fellows remain at their training hospital to continue vital research, education and clinical work, which is a benefit to patients and care.
This year’s event, the 29th annual auction, was held at Vinoy Renaissance St. Petersburg Resort & Golf Club and featured a touching video about Austin, a cancer patient.
“The VIP Auction is one of the most important events of the year for the Foundation,” explains Jenine Rabin, Foundation executive vice president. “I’m extremely proud of our committee which works hard all year to put the event together. Priority one is enlisting key sponsors such as Duke Energy, HSN Cares, VF Licensed Sports Group, Tampa Bay Times and Hill Wand Henderson—without whom we couldn’t pull this off. We are always so grateful for their continued support of our mission.”