Children’s Hospital Gala


Duke University is world-renowned for its cutting-edge medical research, family-centered patient care, and education of future medical leaders. It is also host to a prestigious annual gala where donors are invited to join an event filled with fine dining and entertainment—with the core goal of making a difference in the lives of ailing children.

In 2015, it was decided that a change was in order. At most fundraising events, the focus is on the donors themselves. However, this year would see that focus shift to the children benefitting from the evening.

Stories are a key thread that connects people all over the world, and those of Duke’s children are deeply moving. Creative Visions recommended to lead with an optimistic, story-driven theme delivered by a unique Master of Ceremonies—a 10-year-old boy. Adults delivered messages where needed, but the children were clearly the stars of the evening.


The show design consisted of seven, large-format prints of happy children’s faces, affixed to trusses and projecting surfaces.  Massive red balloons, four feet in diameter, were hung from the ceiling throughout the ballroom to evoke the playfulness of children–and a representation of a portion of the hospital’s logo.  Illuminated red balloons also adorned the drape backdrop to the stage.

Two video display surfaces allowed for a multi-surface experience with video playback on different screens. These screens displayed donor rolls along with various images of the presenters, video and animation. The combination of the above delivered a lively, upbeat look, and as each presenter was introduced, a customized animation of the hospital logo comprised of red and white balls bounced in succession across each screen, followed by the presenter’s name and title. Even the adults were brought back to childhood with photos of their youthful years precluding each presentation.


Emotional connections with the Children’s Hospital and the impact made on the lives of children were rekindled. Contributions to the cause exceeded objectives by more than 50%.