Illustration by Randall Nelson
’Twas the happiest Christmas holiday for 50 families across the United States who were surprised with donated, wrapped gifts from local nonprofit Best Christmas Ever (BCE). Co-founders Don Liimatainen and Jason Kunz created BCE around four key features: health, finance, family, and faith. When families fall on hard times, especially if someone is sick and out of work, they may not have enough money for holiday gifts. Enter BCE—in 2011, its first year, BCE brought Christmas joy to one family, and every year since it’s increased its offerings to more families. In 2016, 50 families nationwide received a bounty of gifts for the holidays. Gifts in the past have ranged from covering annual housing costs to new vehicles. The minimum BCE blessing for the individual family is the equivalent of $5,000. And the organization continues to help families beyond one day of gifts. These families are also connected to resources and people who can help them get back on track. The Minnesota Vikings sponsored BCE’s 2016 annual gala, and the players stepped up to the challenge. Running backs Adrian Peterson and Matt Asiata got into the spirit with Asiata attending the gala and Peterson visiting BCE families. This year’s gala was attended by 500-plus guests and held in the Delta Sky360 Club at U.S. Bank Stadium, and brought in close to $130,000, making this Christmas the “Best Christmas Ever” for 50 families.
More than 230 people came together for the fourth annual Heroes for Health event, benefitting the Life Time Foundation, which improves children’s health through better nutrition at school. Never to disappoint, Bahram Akradi’s guest list was once again dazzling and interesting, and included TV personality Dr. Sanjay Gupta, and former NFL star and CBS football analyst Tony Gonzalez. The event was held at the home of Life Time Fitness founder Akradi and his wife Emily, and raised more than $627,000 for the foundation.
See you on the scene!