Pictured: Greg and Kara Olsen with friend, actor, and children’s advocate Vince Vaughn at the Inaugural Levine Children’s Gala (May 2015).

On Saturday, May 2, the inaugural Levine Children’s Gala welcomed over 350 guests to Quail Hollow Club in Charlotte, raising proceeds of over half a million dollars to benefit Levine Children’s Hospital. The Levine Children’s Gala was made possible by the generous support of many community sponsors, most notably, presenting sponsor PNC Bank.

“For the second year, PNC is proud to partner with Levine Children’s Hospital and support such a meaningful community resource,” said Weston Andress, Regional President Western Carolina.

The gala was well-attended by representatives from Levine Children’s Hospital, as well as national and local celebrities, athletes, philanthropists, and corporate supporters, including major gala sponsors UTC Aerospace, Piedmont Natural Gas, and McKinsey.

Guests enjoyed a private reception followed by poignant remarks from Michael Tarwater, Carolinas HealthCare System Chief Executive Officer, and Callie Dobbins, Levine Children’s Hospital Vice President and Facility Executive, whose words underscored the crucial role that philanthropy plays in supporting Levine Children’s Hospital.

Seven-year-old Cora Tucker, a Levine Children’s Hospital cancer survivor, encouraged attendees to have fun and “let it go”, followed by a Broadway-style performance by 12-year old entertainer and YouTube sensation Lexi Walker, who performed a moving rendition of the acclaimed single “Let It Go” from Disney’s Frozen. Lexi, who has performed in major venues including the Kennedy Center and Carnegie Hall, was accompanied by Young Voices of the Carolinas and Sam McKelton of Charlotte, who toured for 11 years with Disney Broadway and was an original and touring cast member of the Tony Award-winning musical, The Lion King.

During a formal dinner, guests enjoyed a surprise visit from actor Vince Vaughn, who was first introduced to Levine Children’s Hospital by Gala Committee Member and all-pro Carolina Panthers Tight-End, Greg Olsen. No stranger to Levine Children’s Hospital, Greg Olsen shared the story of his family’s experience at Levine Children’s Hospital, where his youngest son, T.J., received life-saving surgeries for a congenital heart defect.

The Olsen family’s story and heartfelt words inspired guests, including visionaries like Sandra and Leon Levine, to give generously throughout the evening. Most notably, the Leon Levine Foundation offered a spontaneous $100,000 matching grant challenge, which will be awarded to Levine Children’s Hospital—matching donors’ contributions dollar for dollar—if the same amount is raised by the conclusion of the Wells Fargo Championship at Quail Hollow Club on May 17.

Also, WBTV award-winning journalist Christine Nelson led a live charity auction to benefit the hospital, with items including 3 Carolina Panthers football camp experiences, with Olsen, Ryan Kahil, and Luke Kuechly; two exclusive island resort packages; and tickets to ABC’s The Bachelorette – After The Final Rose taping. The auction was followed by a special live performance by national recording artist Andy Grammer, a gifted singer-songwriter whose vibrant pop/rock/soul sound has gained national attention among fans of all ages. Emerging as one of the biggest success stories in 2012, Andy has performed on Jimmy Kimmel Live and The Tonight Show with Jay Leno. He has been recognized as the first male pop star, since John Mayer in 2002, to reach the Top 10 at Adult Pop Radio on his first 2 singles, “Keep Your Head Up” and “Fine By Me”.

The success of the inaugural Levine Children’s Gala was driven in large part by a dedicated Gala Committee, including: Candy and Darren Bing, Amy and Alfred Dawson, Sherrard and John Georgius, Stephanie and Dave Gitlin, Mandy and Todd Houser, Emily and Tyler Johnson, Kara and Greg Olsen, Tiffany and Scott Smith, Ann and Michael Tarwater, and Amy and Martin Welton.


CONTACT:           Kirstin Ashford, Carolinas HealthCare Foundation – 704.907.3778 or kirstin.ashford@carolinashealthcare.org