The full economic fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic will not be calculated for some time, but in the short term, the toll it has taken on small businesses and nonprofits has been especially destructive.
For local nonprofits like Camp Rainbow Gold, which depend on charity galas to help fund their work, the sudden inability to raise finances has been devastating.
Camp Rainbow Gold’s flagship fundraiser, the Share Your Heart Ball, was scheduled to take place in March. The nonprofit, which serves children battling cancer, was forced to scrap the whole ball with just 48 hours’ notice.
Fortunately for Camp Rainbow Gold and the children it helps, its supporters are just as dedicated as its staff. With the backing of businesses, sponsors and private citizens—including Hollywood star Keanu Reeves—the camp has restructured its gala into a weeklong online charity event.
“We quickly realized we wouldn’t be the only ones moving our fundraiser to an online auction,” said Camp Rainbow Gold Executive Director Elizabeth Lizberg. “We also realized that after months at home, people are craving connections and experiences that are safe but fulfilling.”
A video chat with a friend or family member goes a long way, but the camp will be auctioning off a number of different, one-of-a-kind opportunities for connection, beginning with a private 15-minute Zoom call with Reeves.
The actor—whose robust filmography of more than 100 credits includes such classics as “The Matrix,” “Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure,” “John Wick,” “Speed” and “Point Break”—typically maintains a low public profile, despite his career in the spotlight. Unlike many celebrities, he prefers to keep his private life private.
Reeves has given millions to charity, though, especially supporting cancer organizations following his sister’s diagnosis with leukemia.
To help the children of Camp Rainbow Gold, Reeves is offering a private Zoom call, in which he will share a glass of wine, tell some stories, answer questions and maybe even teach a few martial arts moves (he does his own stunts in the “John Wick” series).
More celebrities have donated their help as well. Singer and philanthropist Ally Brooke of Fifth Harmony will be offering a 15-minute private mini-concert.
Rob Paulsen, iconic voice actor of “Animaniacs,” “Pinky and the Brain” and “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles,” among more than 500 credits, is donating an hour-long tutorial on comedic voice-acting, along with some signed swag and a specially recorded voicemail message.
An announcement from Camp Rainbow Gold also listed an unnamed Hollywood film and TV producer who is offering up a 30-minute session with his team in which the winner can pitch an idea or a script or receive some unique advice from seasoned showbiz professionals.
There are many more prizes up for grabs as well, including a private ski party at Rotarun and a customized catered dinner by Vintage restaurant chef and owner Rodrigo Herrera, as well as vacations, staycations, wine, spa packages and numerous other items.
“All this support is a game-changer for us,” Lizberg said. “We feel like the little engine that could—a small charity in Idaho getting so much love and support to continue to provide our programs to children who have battled cancer.”
The online auction opened Monday, June 15, at noon and will close Monday, June 22, at noon.
Visit camprainbowgold.org/auction to view all the auction lots and place bids.