The 10th annual fundraiser for Save a Forgotten Equine may lack some of the pageantries of past events, but it remains just as important to the nonprofit’s ability to rescue and rehabilitate horses, according to Executive Director Bonnie Hammond.
And this year, guests may attend in their pajamas if they so choose.
Save a Forgotten Equine, known as SAFE, will host its fundraising gala Heart of the Horse as an online event, starting at 6 p.m. on June 6.
There will be live presentations, an auction, videos demonstrating the work SAFE does, and a live feed from the farm to get “up close and personal with the horses,” Hammond said.
“I have no idea how that’s going to go,” she said of the live footage from the farm. “It could either be great or hilarious.”
Silent auction items up for bid are available to preview online at heart.safehorses.org, which is also where donations may be made.
The Redmond-based organization works with animal control agencies in Snohomish, King and Pierce counties to help rescue, rehabilitate, re-train and rehome horses facing neglect or abuse. Currently, 36 horses are residing on the farm, according to Hammond.
The annual gala generates about a quarter of the organization’s yearly revenue, she said. This year, the group hopes to raise about $200,000.
Donations will also support the organization’s recent work creating a hay bank to help horse owners who have been affected by the pandemic feed their animals, Hammond said. So far, the group has purchased about $16,000 worth of hay.
The typical in-person fundraiser had originally been planned for mid-April but was canceled rather than postponed because of the uncertainty around when large events may be allowed again in the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak, Hammond said.
She added that although it was upsetting when it became clear the gala couldn’t go on as it has in year’s past, she’s maintained there are some positives to the situation.
Going online meant she didn't have to plan an event that may never happen, she said, and the number of participants won't be limited by room capacity, physical distance, or ticket price.
“With an online virtual gala, we can have as many guests as want to be there,” Hammond said. “It’s open to anyone who wants to participate.”