From the Heart gala raised record $68,000 Saturday

‘It’s just incredible to reach these new heights’

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ROCHELLE — From the Heart raised just over $68,000 during its annual gala on Saturday at Flight Deck Bar & Grill, President and Founder Dave Eckhardt said.

The event, in its 14th year, benefited the Rochelle Area Community Foundation, HOPE of Ogle County, Rochelle Christian Food Pantry, Pegasus Special Riders, Hub City Senior Center, Shining Star Children’s Advocacy Center, CASA and FOCUS House. Each of those organizations will receive just over $8,500 from the gala. 

The gala included dinner, a live and silent auction and games and raffles. Eckhardt said about 200 people attended.

“It’s just incredible to reach these new heights,” Eckhardt said. “14 years ago when we started this our goal was $30,000. Now we’re close to $70,000. That’s amazing to me. The support we get from the community is great. Our calendar sales are up, too. We hope to build on it all again next year.”

Last year, the gala was held virtually due to the COVID-19 pandemic. From the Heart decided to keep a virtual aspect in 2022 and hosted a virtual drawing on its Facebook page so those who were unable to attend the gala were still able to participate in the drawing.

Eckhardt called Saturday “very successful” and said he’s enjoyed watching the event grow over the years.

“It’s been totally amazing to see it grow,” Eckhardt said. “I never thought it would grow this way, and I never thought it would be an official nonprofit. It takes a lot of people to put an event like that together and it wouldn’t have been possible without everyone’s help. I think everyone had a good time. We try to make it fun for everybody.”