Sandra and Leon Levine announce significant donation at event, sponsored by PNC

CHARLOTTE, N.C., April 1, 2019 – On Saturday, March 30, the 5th Annual Levine Children’s Gala welcomed over 525 guests to Uptown Charlotte, raising a record $2+ million to benefit Levine Children’s Hospital. The fundraiser was made possible by the generous support of many community sponsors, most notably, presenting sponsor PNC.

The gala, held at the corner of 8th and Brevard on land owned by Levine Properties, was attended by national and local celebrities, athletes, philanthropists, community leaders and representatives of Atrium Health and Levine Children’s Hospital, as well as numerous corporate supporters, including PNC, Barings, The Beck Group, Brighthouse Financial, Collins Aerospace, Middleton Meyers, Office Environments and Speedway Children’s Charities.

Atrium Health President and CEO Gene Woods welcomed a sold-out crowd of gala attendees and recognized some of Levine Children’s biggest supporters: presenting sponsor PNC, the Carolina Panthers and team owner David Tepper; Atrium Health board member and local philanthropist Bevie Hemby; and Atrium Health Foundation board member and Carolina Panther Greg Olsen and his wife, Kara – each of whom have invested tremendously in Levine Children’s and continue to carry the torch in support of Atrium Health and Levine Children’s Hospital.

Dr. Stacy Nicholson, the President of Atrium Health Children’s Services, joined Woods on stage and shared the evening’s biggest news: Sandra and Leon Levine and The Leon Levine Foundation have committed $500,000 to the gala in support of Levine Children’s.

After the Levines received a standing ovation, Weston Andress, regional president of PNC, was recognized for his organization’s five consecutive years of serving as the gala’s presenting sponsor.

“We are so very fortunate to have Levine Children’s Hospital here in this community,” said Andress.  “Not only does this amazing facility provide world class care and attract the best talent – but it helps corporations like ours recruit and retain talent, as well. We know that our employees and those at other companies place tremendous value on having access to the very best healthcare services for their children – close to home.”

Momentum built throughout the evening, as Callie Dobbins, vice president of Levine Children’s Hospital, along with Greg Olsen took center stage joined by six-year-old Aydan Ellis, a Levine Children’s patient and heart transplant recipient. Following their presentation, Carolina Panthers’ running back and talented pianist Christian McCaffrey joined the Greater Enrichment Program’s youth choir for a moving performance of Lean On Me.

The gala was emceed by Colleen Odegaard, co-host of WCNC “Charlotte Today” and veteran NBC Charlotte midday and morning news anchor, who shared her son Anthony’s miraculous story of survival after sustaining a life-threatening head injury. Colleen credited the doctors and nurses at Levine Children’s for saving Anthony’s life.

“Anthony is standing up here with me tonight because of Levine Children’s Hospital and people like you who are dedicated to making it the best hospital in the country.”

Colleen was also joined on stage by six-year-old Wren Jansen, who recently celebrated the completion of her treatment for leukemia at Levine Children’s and today is a carefree, cancer-free child who loves unicorns, Disney princesses and art. Wren helped kick off the live auction, which featured artwork, travel, and unique experiences, such as a personal football camp hosted by Greg Olsen.

Guests were inspired and gave generously during both the live and silent auction and the bid paddle raise. The fun continued with a lively performance by the iconic KC and the Sunshine Family. Outside, the big city lights shined, with some buildings lit specially to honor the children’s hospital. It was, indeed, a bright, sunshiny night for Levine Children’s!


The Gala Committee included: Candy and Darren Bing, Stephanie and Howard Bissell, Monica and Armando Chardiet, Amy and Alfred Dawson, Sherrard and John Georgius, Stephanie and David Gitlin, Mandy and Todd Houser, Emily and Tyler Johnson, Kara and Greg Olsen, Ana and Manuel Rey, Tiffany and Scott Smith, Amy and Martin Welton, and Joy and Hunter Widener.


Atrium Health’s Levine Children’s Hospital is a 234-bed hospital in Charlotte, North Carolina, located on the main campus of Carolinas Medical Center. It is the most comprehensive facility of its type between Atlanta, and Washington D.C., and is also home to the Ricky Hendrick Centers for Intensive Care, which support pediatric intensive and cardiovascular surgery patients. Since opening in 2007, the hospital has grown to include more than 30 pediatric specialties and has received national recognition from U.S. News & World Report as one of “America’s Best Children’s Hospitals.”