By Brittany van der Salm | CNA Board Member, AL6
COVID-19 doesn’t deter the Native American Youth and Family Center (NAYA) from continuing to host NAYA Gala. The 18th annual gala and fundraiser is virtual for the second consecutive year.
The livestream event begins at 6:30 p.m. Friday, Nov. 5. Prior to this, bidding on auction items was scheduled to begin Friday, Oct. 29, and ticket sales for a raffle on Monday, Oct 25.
Registration for the event, raffle and auction is at NAYAgala.org. The page will be updated with more information as the event gets closer.
Despite the format change, events manager Vawn Borges reported the organization still recorded over 800 unique viewers and 250 registered auction bidders last year. They generated similar donations to what the organization normally sees at in-person events.
The 2020 move to the virtual format allowed attendees from as far as Australia and Germany to tune into the livestream, bid in the auction and make donations, Vawn said.
This year, NAYA will again offer guests the option of ordering a traditional Native-inspired dinner catered by ChefStable and delivered to their homes. They may also bid on an array of auction items, including a blue glass vase made by Lillian Pitt, Northwest Native artist and former Alberta Arts District gallery owner. Add to that a selection of jewelry from the Southwest, several travel packages and more.
Although planning for the event is still underway, some changes to the program of the livestream event are expected, including several live performances.
Vawn said he wants the gala to feature more entertainment by Native performers. “We hope our virtual attendees will find our program more engaging overall.”
Longtime gala emcee and NAYA board member Zeke Smith will again host the event, and he will be joined by Johnna Wells to run the auction.
The annual gala is NAYA’s largest source of unrestricted funding. Money raised through the event is used to fill budget shortfalls or gaps. That ensures programs not fully funded through government contracts or foundation grants can continue to run.
NAYA is located on Columbia Boulevard and 52nd Avenue. It provides educational, housing, community building, foster care, elder and other services each year to over 10,000 self-identified Native Americans across the Portland metropolitan area.
Brittany is a board member of the CNA, and has lived in the neighborhood since 2019. She works as a Medicaid disability policy consultant with a national nonprofit firm. Brittany loves to bake and bird watch.