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Virtual Snow Ball Gala a Huge Success

Undaunted by the pandemic, patrons of the 47th Annual Snow Ball raised over $3.3 million to support the most vulnerable in our communities.

A year ago, over 2,000 supporters of Catholic Charities Foundation of Northeast Kansas gathered in the Overland Park Convention Center to celebrate a glamorous evening gala. At the time, no one would have imagined how different the 2021 Snow Ball gala would look.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the premier charity gala in the Kansas City area took place virtually on January 16, 2021. Over 200 individual Snow Ball parties were hosted in livings rooms and around dining tables as over a thousand supporters tuned in to our online live programming. Even more patrons participated in Catholic Charities’ work through their generous donations.

“This evening for the first and hopefully only time in the history of the Snow Ball we are celebrating an entirely virtual event,” said Craig Gaffney, 2021 Snow Ball President, in his remarks on January 16th. “While we truly miss celebrating tonight in person with all of you, it has already been a great evening and the celebration has just begun.”

The Snow Ball Tradition Returned to its Potluck Roots

47 years ago, a small group of couples didn’t let a snow storm stop them from celebrating the work of Catholic Charities Foundation of Northeast Kansas. The 47th Annual Snow Ball continued the tradition of coming together to support our neighbors in need, and gave a special nod to the friends-and-family potluck that started it all.

Snow Ball supporters joined in the fun on social media!

Attendees chose from several different “Snow Ball Party” options, with catering options provided by Fiorella’s Jack Stack and centerpieces by Sidelines Floral. Each package came packed with program booklets, guides for online viewing, food, wine, party favors, and more!

As family and friends celebrated in small groups, they shared their parties using #snowball2021 and participated in a live chat throughout the evening.

A Wide-Reaching Event

A virtual event presents unique opportunities, including an impressive geographic reach! We were joined by over 1,000 attendees across the Archdiocese and beyond. Well over 200 “Snow Ball Parties” took place in thirteen of the 21 counties in our service area and across eleven states.

The Snow Ball Livestream


The Snow Ball program, which was broadcast from Fiorella’s Event Center, began with a livestreamed Mass officiated by Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann, D.D.

View the Mass recording

Pre-Program Reception

After Mass, Snow Ball attendees enjoyed a pre-program reception focused on the critical work of Catholic Charities and the impact the organization has had on the community during the pandemic. Naty Bukaty of Sports Radio 810 emceed the event and interviewed Catholic Charities’ leadership.

Four heartfelt segments entitled “Faith,” “Hope,” “Love,” and “Serve” accompanied these interviews and featured recent footage of Catholic Charities volunteers, staff, and benefactors.

A feature on COVID-19 showcased the frontline work which Catholic Charities undertakes every day in order to serve our neighbors in need. Catholic Charities staff took special inspiration from a quote from St. Joan of Arc: “I am not afraid because God is with me. I was born for this!” Watch the video below:

Every year during Snow Ball, Catholic Charities of Northeast Kansas focuses on one of our 20+ services by following the journey of an individual or family we served. This year’s film highlights the case management services offered in our Leavenworth Family Support Center. Thank you to Jamie Moody and her family for beautifully demonstrating what happens when we place our trust in God. Watch the video produced by Sistine Films below.

Program: “Sharing our Gratitude”

The program kicked off with special guest appearances including His Eminence Timothy Cardinal Dolan, Dustin Colquitt, Bill Self, and more.

CEO Lauren Solidum introduced the presidents of this year’s Snow Ball by acknowledging the unique challenges the couple faced: “Craig and Karen Gaffney, our Snow Ball presidents, took the helm with excitement and hope. They quickly realized that Snow Ball 2021 would be unlike any other Snow Ball yet they continued to humbly lead with grace, fortitude and a willingness to embrace the challenges that came our way.”

Archbishop Naumann joined the Gaffneys and Lauren Solidum on stage to announce the great success of the first-ever virtual gala. The 47th Annual Snow Ball raised a record $3,302,440!

Would you like to re-live the event? Please click here to view the entirety of the 47th Annual Snow Ball programming.

Hard Work for a Virtual Gala

While the 47th Annual Snow Ball was a tremendous achievement, pivoting to a virtual event for the first time challenged the Snow Ball team to be even more creative and agile than ever. None of this would have been possible without the hard work and support of over 70 leaders in our community who participated in the Patron, Table, and Experience Committees.

Catholic Charities Foundation of Northeast Kansas is profoundly grateful to Craig and Karen Gaffney, Snow Ball Presidents; Susan and Ernie Straub, Honorary Presidents; John and Mary Campbell, Patron Committee Chairs; Joe and Melissa Valenciano, Table Committee Chairs; and Donna Teahan and Joane Wilkerson, Reservations Committee Co-Chairs. Thank you as well to all hosts and attendees of the virtual Parish Initiative Parties.

To view a full list of everyone who graciously donated their time to our committees, as well as a list of event partners and features on the impact of Catholic Charities of Northeast Kansas,  please download a copy of the 2021 Snow Ball Program Book.

The success of the first-ever virtual Snow Ball relied on a lot of hard work and creativity behind the scenes.

If you are interested in serving on a committee for next year’s Snow Ball, please contact our Event Manager, Theresa Gaul, at [email protected]

Save the Date!

We look forward to celebrating the 48th Annual Snow Ball in-person at the Overland Park Convention Center on January 15th, 2022! The upcoming Snow Ball presidents are Mark and Donna Teahan.

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Catholic Charities of Northeast Kansas serves the most vulnerable men, women and children of all faiths across 21 counties. We provide innovative programs and solutions that stabilize and strengthen individuals and families to have hope for the future. Follow us to stay up to date.