Together in partnership with the Ritz-Carlton, New Orleans, Son of a Saint is hosting its fundraising gala Friday, November 1st. The 7th annual event raises funds to support the nonprofit's programming event, while providing holistic mentorship to young men in New Orleans.

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Sonny Lee

The organization was founded in 2011 by Bivian "Sonny" Lee III in honor of his late father and his single mother who raised him. Since its inception, Son of a Saint has supplied education, recreation, camaraderie, cultural enrichment, and emotional support for the fatherless. The gala, which is the nonprofit's largest fundraising event, has come a long way since its first year. "It's grown in attendees from 120 to 500," the organization said. "The first year we had some empty tables, but now attendance has become maxed to capacity."

Son of a Saint's steady supporters are always in attendance, as well as the young men who are mentored (four Son of a Saint mentees will emcee the evening). In the inaugural year, there were 20 boys enrolled. In 2019, there are now over 100 boys in the program and it is their highest enrollment to date. To adjust to the increase in mentees, they've added three new hires including a mental health specialist, case managers, and an education and career coordinator. "In the past we have done a lot with little, now the investment in people to support our boys is greater."

The annual event has always been a perfect mix of elegant and fun. "It’s a blend of music, food, culture and community with the unique stamp of Son of a Saint. Not only do we plan to emulate that in terms of atmosphere, ambiance and visual aesthetics, but we also want to incorporate the core of our organization, which is our mentees. That’s what warms people’s hearts, to be able to see our young men dressed in their finest and showing their gratitude and camaraderie throughout the night. We’re focusing in on that this year and can’t wait to see our guests' reactions to what we have in store."

Held in Son of a Saint's "ideal venue," the Ritz-Carlton will host the patron cocktail party then the main party, which includes a silent auction, a three-course dinner, and an open bar. The auction is set to include a mix of luxury retail, experiences, and packages across the health, beauty, dining, and sports spaces. Collectibles will also be included. A jazz-styled celebration will follow in the hotel's M Bistro, which is open to all gala attendees.

"The Ritz team has helped us tremendously and working in partnership with them has been essential for our events specialists to concept and create the best experience possible. We’re excited to return to the Ritz this year and see our gala evolve even further."

More information and tickets can be found here.