Feeling Lucky Recap & Awards

A message from our Gala Committee:

Thank you to the 475+ people who attended or supported the annual fundraising gala. To say we feel lucky would be an understatement! While we missed Andrew Stutzke and hope he feels better, our staff and volunteers made sure the evening went off without a hitch. The message shared by Heather Avis was heartwarming and encouraging. The entertainment (song and dance) and live auction along with the special visit from Mickey & Minnie Mouse made the night exciting. Many thanks to everyone who made it all possible. Special thanks to all the volunteers for preparations, night of event help, and clean up too!

😍Together we raised just over $108,000 for our Playhouse! Thank you all!

4 additional things: 

1. If you were in attendance, please take a moment to complete a short survey letting us know about your experience. Survey Link Here The survey is anonymous unless you want your name entered for a chance to win tickets to the 2024 Gala.

2. Pictures from photographers will be shared as soon as receive them but we’d love to see your photos too. Click here to upload any you’d like to share. Photo Upload Link Here

Gala Photos 2023 linked here.

3. If you are interested in being part of the Gala Committee to plan and coordinate the 2024 Gala, please let us know. Email quadcities@gigisplayhouse.org or call 309-762-7529 and ask for Pam.

4. Save the Date! Saturday, October 19, 2024, at Rhythm City Casino


Every year at the gala we recognize a few outstanding volunteers.

Volunteer(s) of the Year

Congratulations to Deb Anderson & Colleen Borts on being awarded the Volunteer of the Year Award,

Deb and Colleen stepped up to assist our new adult group speech program that we call Coffee Club at the beginning of 2023. Quickly they became close to all of the participants, engaging with everyone during the purposeful program and on a personal level.  Then, we decided to try another new adult program called GiGi’s Achievers.  As Deb and Colleen were already familiar with most of those who would be participating, I asked them to think about helping there too.  They almost immediately said yes, and we are so glad they did! We can’t imagine these programs being as successful without them and their big hearts. Thank you, Deb & Colleen! 

Program Leader(s) of the Year

The reason GiGi’s exists is to provide free, purposeful, programs. In order to provide these programs at no cost to families, we need leaders. While all programs need leaders, these two have taken ownership of two great programs, working together to create fun and purposeful evenings for our teens and adults.
The leaders of our Teen Tastic & Fantastic Friends programs were recognized as Program Leaders of the year!

Congratulations, Amanda Ramirez & Elizabeth Webster!

Generation G

Lexi and Leslie became involved with GiGi’s Playhouse after cousin/nephew Ollie was born having Down syndrome. They are both huge champions of Ollie, supporting him and the entire family. Not just their family, but our GiGi’s family.  Lexi is our resident chalk artist, creating the designs on our chalk wall, but more importantly, Lexi is a volunteer for early childhood programming and shared what she does all over the state with an award-winning 4H project that described her volunteer experiences and the GiGi’s Playhouse message of acceptance for all.  Her Mom, Leslie, is not only a proud mom, but in addition to encouraging Lexi, she has shown the generation-G spirit herself. Bringing in her fellow realtors to help promote and support our playhouse. Through donations of kitchen appliances, auction baskets, serving at the JD classic, and many other ways, Leslie has created a “homegrown” group of people to be Generation G.   We are proud to have you both as part of the GiGi’s family.  Thank you, Leslie & Lexi Tooley!

We want to thank not only these volunteers but ALL of the volunteers and all of YOU!

Our Playhouse thrives thanks to volunteers, families, and community and your commitment and support to our mission of changing the way the world views Down syndrome


Additional thanks to all of the sponsors for making this event possible. Your support shows that you believe in the GiGi’s mission to change the way the world views Down syndrome and you want to see that change right here in the Quad Cities.

2023 Gala Committee

  • Pam Lynch, Co-Chair
  • Hilary Oliver, Co-Chair
  • Chad & Susanna Johnson
  • Tim Gulbranson
  • Carissa Hassebrock
  • Meribeth Johnson

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