American Friends of Georgia Charity Gala Breaks Record for Money Raised

Last Saturday night, American Friends of Georgia (AFG) traditionally gathered all leading business corporations and organizations at its annual Charity Gala, in the ballroom of the Radisson Blu Iveria, for a lighthearted evening in service of a good cause. The Annual American Friends of Georgia Charity Gala, now in its ninth year, raised a record 111300 USD. American Friends of Georgia’s Charity gala is the most important and largest of its kind celebrated in Georgia.

The ticketed dinner was accompanied by a raffle and auction, the latter headed as always by Honorary Consul of Canada to Georgia, Cliff Isaak.

All proceeds from the event will go to support American Friends of Georgia’s two main charitable projects, namely the Dzegvi Shelter Community, a shelter for the mentally ill, disabled, and former street children with nowhere else to go, and the Transfiguration Convent’s Hospice and Palliative Home Care Program, directed towards needy elderly and terminally ill patients. As the evening opened, project heads presented videos explaining their work to the crowd that had come to help. AFG itself is a non-profit, non-political organization founded over 20 years ago, which according to its mission aims to help provide “practical humanitarian assistance to improve Georgia’s educational, economic, social, medical and environmental conditions.”

Dinner was accompanied by a programme of entertainment which included young ballerina Kato Matnadze dancing to Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker, and musical performances by the Iriao Ethno Jazz band and The Quintessence A Cappella group.

The Quintessence in particular delivered a fork-stopping show, capped by a phenomenal rendition of Beethoven’s Ode to Joy that had been shocked up with an infusion of Kartvelian polyphony. It was hard not to consider this the entertainment highlight of the evening.

Contending for best-in-show from a sheer entertainment point of view was the auction itself. Mr. Isaak, who worked in the former Soviet Union for over two decades before becoming an Honorary Consul of Canada to Georgia, has served as the AFG Charity Gala’s auctioneer since the role’s inception. No stranger to the job, the Auctioneer Extraordinaire kept the business fast, light, and engaging.

Highlights from the auction included: sculptures of two abstract human forms by Tamar Kvesitadze, a sketch for movie from David Kakabadze; and a painting, ‘Dancing Girls,’ by Gigo Gabashvili. The Gabashvili garnered the highest price, selling for $11 500.

Somewhat surprisingly, the raffle provided more than its share of amusement as well. Ticket buyers who actually read the prize list found, among the prizes, one Mr. Donald Trump tie, donated by Sandra Elizabeth Roloefs, wife of ex-President Mikheil Saakashvili.

The air soon bloated with anticipation and speculation over whom the winner of the tie would be, and how he or she would receive and respect the prize.

The winning ticket – N666314 – was found, appropriately and to great applause and amusement, at the table of the United States’ Embassy party.

Another year of festive cheer and giving draws to a close, with another brilliant contribution from the AFG and all its supporters.

AFG thanks the sponsors of the event, amongst who stand: Petrocas Energy Group-Patron, BDO, Deloitte, Adjara Hospitality group, and Radisson Blu.

Robert Isaf

17 December 2015 21:00