On October 20, at our second annual New Story Night, we surpassed our own fundraising ideas and expectations. We’d set a goal of $1,000,000 for the night — the highest fundraising goal we’ve ever set for one event — and we ended the night with a total of nearly $1.5million in funds pledged. An entire community in Mexico will be funded by a single night of generosity from some of the most incredible people we know. We couldn’t be more grateful, or more amazed.

But truthfully, though the donations floored us, they weren’t the only part of the night that shattered our expectations in the best way. Every single piece of the gala was a labor of love from someone, and you could feel it from the moment you entered the room. Since not everyone we love could join us for the event, allow me to take you there now.

After handing your keys to the valet, imagine you’ve left the sidewalks of San Francisco, and crossed over into the world of survival mode. At the entrance to the event, there’s a life-size replica of the kind of home New Story families live in before they move into a new community. The dirt floors, scrap metal walls, and caved-in ceiling reflect the lived experience of so many, and they were brought to life meticulously by members of our very own ops team, who built this replica by hand.

Leaving the home replica, you enter the main space of the gala, where the first thing you see is dozens of beautiful faces in black and white. Hanging from the ceiling and covering the walls, there are portraits of families in Mexico currently living in survival mode. They are the exact families this gala will support, and they are beautifully, poignantly photographed by the talented Randall Slavin, and put on epic display by our design team’s long hours of planning and effort.

From start to finish, the whole evening is a reminder of what it can look like when talented humans humbly, empathically pursue the same goal together. From the the skillful work of Chef Omar Huerta, to our engaging and energetic emcee, Keith Krach (more from him at the bottom of this post), and beyond. The room was filled with the time, effort, and energy of some of the best we know, and it was humbling to be a part of.

Overall, the execution from being a fundraising idea through to the night of the gala was a perfect example of what we call, Team of Founders. It’s always been our goal to operate not as group of colleagues, but as a team of people who take equal, radical ownership for the mission. Everyone on our team is as invested in the organization as if they had founded it themselves. We’re humbled to see this mentality extending even beyond New Story team members, and into our incredible group of sponsors, volunteers, and advisors.

Lastly, I’ll add this. At the gala, we were thrilled to unveil a new video highlighting our founding story, future vision, and a phrase we say often around here: it’s crazy until it’s not. New Story Night 2018 was yet another example of what happens when a ‘fundraising’ idea is crazy… until it’s not. We’re extraordinarily grateful to everyone who made this crazy dream seem a lot less crazy.

A note to end from our emcee of the evening:

What Exactly Is New Story?

By: Keith Krach

It’s a new story but it is an old story. But at the same time a never-ending story.

But it’s also a story about new solutions to old problems…

A humbling story — about people in need;

But a joyous story — about dreams fulfilled.

It is a transformational story that is a visionary story

But it is boils down to an execution story

It is a novel story that isn’t written in a novel.

It will be an eternal story,

A story we will tell OUR GREAT GRANDCHILDREN.

A personal story, a local story; but a universal story, a global story.

A poor story; and a rich story.

The poor, enriched in living, and the rich, enriched in giving.

An unknown story — because its new; but a familiar story — because it’s right.

A story for all of us to write — tonight.

Now how is that for a story!

— -Keith Krach