“Imagine a moment.

When you’re called to push the boundaries.

Where you are empowered to step into the fullness of your potential.

Lifting those around you along the way.”

The first statement of Sprout’s Founder and Executive Director’s Impact speech perfectly summed up the organization’s “Dream Big” 10 Year Anniversary Gala.  After a decade of serving the community – the organization chose to honor their milestone with forward-thinking rather than pats on the back.  This mindset allowed the organization to “sprout” from rather humble beginnings and grow into a community-serving powerhouse in its first ten years of operation.

Held on September 25 at Sprout’s barn in Aldie, the event honored the largest member of Sprout’s herd, horse of the year “Duke” with a night to impress and feelings of love, gratitude, togetherness and inspiration were palpable.  Guests (215 in attendance) were greeted as family as they celebrated the many dreams that are now reality because of a community who chose to believe.

As a nod to the “Dream Big” theme, the Sprout facility was transformed into an enchanted forest. The barn was decorated with crystal chandeliers, a hallway filled with gold-framed photos displaying 10 years of Sprout and framed portions of the gala manifesto. The barn was filled to the brim with beautiful greenery from liriope around the bars, to multiple cryptomeria trees to oak trees installed right in the middle of the main event floor!

Guests arrived at a stunning garden trail (and photo backdrop) into the facility. Once in the barn, they enjoyed champagne and cocktails and visited with some of the Sprout Horses of Hope. As they entered the main event area (the riding ring fully covered with wood!), they enjoyed a robust silent auction featuring unique pieces of jewelry to equestrian items to beautiful artwork and experiences and more!

Hors d’oeuvres and dinner were provided by Rochelle Myers Catering and beverages provided by partners Greenhill Vineyards and Solace Brewing. Guests also enjoyed specialty cocktails, “The Duke”, a bourbon old fashioned and the “Dreamer” – a prosecco/lemon cocktail with fresh rosemary.

As the program began, guests enjoyed dinner and welcoming remarks by Presenting Sponsor, Double Wood Farm, who then introduced Chairman of the Board, Susan Fitzgerald. Executive Director, Brooke Waldron, then delivered the impact speech noting, “Sprout is WHO we are, A COMMUNITY of people who help one another reach the highest, truest expression of ourselves, whose dream is to live without limits.”  She told the story of Sprout’s therapy horse Duke, who overcame severe colic and continues to serve (now at 26 years of age).  Remarking that, “We thought Duke was done. That he accomplished his goal.  But as usual, horses show us the way. Duke showed us that he WASN’T done… he was merely at an inflection point… and that he was made for more.

All in attendance were inspired by Duke’s story and then were able to honor his service, as he was brought out onto the floor by Sprout Director of Operations, Anna Koopman, in all of his glory. 

 The live auction part of the evening kicked off, starting with auctioning off two magnum bottles of champagne for $1200 each! Guests then bid on experiences spanning from a private villa in Mexico, a Mardi-Gras float weekend experience, a trip to Napa, a trip to Disney as well as a private dinner in the wine room at iRicchi Restaurant in Washington, DC.

 Once the live auction finished, Sprout student, Kate Batson, then introduced the 2021 Impact Video and as one looked around, you could see that there was not a dry eye to be found! With the conclusion of the impact video, the “Raise the Paddle” portion of the evening where guests donated directly to horse sponsorships and the program. 

From Sprout’s start in 2010, the goal was to ensure that services were accessible to all, regardless of financial means. The specific goal of each gala is to host a high-impact fundraiser that not only generates critical revenue, but also increases awareness about the mission by bringing donors to the barn to experience the true impact of their kindness. 

Kindness, selflessness and compassion were abundant amongst all in attendance (with friends from far away even calling in by phone to give), resulting in ALL 18 of the Sprout Horses being sponsored, in addition to raising much needed funds for the students and program(s). The event was SO successful, that it raised over $600,000 to support current operations and move the mission forward into its next decade of service!

The evening concluded with guests enjoying coffee and dessert while they danced the evening away to the sounds of Deja Gruv, a ten-piece band based out of Washington, D.C.. Guests also enjoyed “Dream Big” cookies as a takeaway, baked and lovingly decorated by Stevi’s Cookies.

 The event would not be possible without the generosity and support of the “Dream Big” sponsors: The Presenting Sponsor, Double Wood Farm, Susan Fitzgerald and Associates, Pristine Acres, Embrace Home Loans, Tri-Sept Corporation, Sabey Data Centers, The DeTemple/O’Brien Family, The Spadafore Family, The Jaeger Family, Utopia, Aiken & Company, PC and Quality Buildings & Supplies. We also would like to thank our partners: Solace Brewery, Greenhill Vineyards, Bella Villa Antiques and Vintage Rentals, The Scout Guide Hunt Country, Tara Jelenic Photography and Damewood Auctioneers. We are grateful for your support and generosity of our program!

 Sprout is dedicated to providing therapy, adaptive recreation, high-quality individualized instruction, supported volunteerism, employment and community for individuals with disabilities. Sprout works to bring hope, healing, empowerment and recovery through partnerships with horses and a community of believers.

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