Chairman of the 26th Annual West Tennessee Healthcare Foundation Charity Gala
Story by Lyda Kay Ferree, The Southern Lifestyles Lady. Photography by Kristina Only.
The following is an excerpt of an article from the December/January issue of VIP Jackson.
Greg Alexander has been called a serial entrepreneur as he has used his education, enthusiasm and entrepreneurship in multiple business and philanthropic ventures during his career. Greg is a native of Savannah, Tennessee, but he has called Jackson home since 1996. He graduated from the University of North Alabama in 1993 with a Bachelor of Science degree in marketing.
Currently Greg holds board positions with the Jackson Rotary Club, West Tennessee Healthcare Foundation, and The Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. He was named among Jackson’s Finest Young Professionals. He served as board chairman of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation of West Tennessee. Currently Greg serves as 2nd Vice President of the Jackson Rotary Club, where he was named Rotarian of the Year in 2015. In 2014 he was designated as a Paul Harris Fellow. Greg served as an Emissary for the Jackson Chamber of Commerce. He is a member of the First United Methodist Church.
Aside from work, Greg and his wife, Allycin, have a passion for European and exotic travel, but they also enjoy spending a few days in New York or Destin. Greg enjoys the outdoors—swimming, exercising, working in the garden and playing with his Cairn Terrier named Max described by Greg as “the best dog in the world.”
VIP: You were the chair of this year’s West Tennessee Healthcare Foundation Charity Gala. Why did you choose to become involved in the work of the Foundation?
Greg Alexander: I did not choose it. It chose me. I said no 3 times when Frank McMeen, president of the Foundation, asked me to do this. He has a finesse about him that makes you want to become involved. That is why he is so great at his job. As a member of the Board of Trustees of The Foundation, I felt it was my responsibility to step up and find a way to do this and make it successful.
VIP: How many volunteers does it take to prepare for the Gala, which featured a cocktail reception, silent auction, wine pull, dinner, live music and dancing?
GA: We have over 50 individuals who donate their time. We have a combination of Foundation board members and Advisory Board members from both the Kirkland Cancer Center and The Ayers Children’s Hospital.
VIP: Is this the first time you have chaired a major event like the Gala?
GA: Yes, it is and there is a huge learning curve, but Beth Koffman, Vice President of Operations for The Foundation, has done this for several years and she has the logistics down to a science. Plus, she is a pleasure to work with.
Allycin was a sounding board for every detail of the Gala (the china, the place settings, the linens and so on). She attended meetings, visited with vendors, went to tastings and helped scour the Internet to help make decisions about the Gala.
VIP: How long have you worked on the plans for this event?
GA: I was not even in talks with Frank until sometime in the late spring. Because this is the 26th year of the Gala, the Foundation knows what has to be done. Some vendors like the printer have it on their calendar every year.
VIP: What is your favorite aspect of the planning of the Gala?
GA: Seeing the volunteers—the number of people who come out to assist and put in their time to help make it happen.
VIP: Does the Foundation Board set a financial goal for the Gala? How are the monies used or dispersed?
GA: There is no goal set, but we know what has been raised in past years. Officially our goal is to beat last year’s goal. Last year’s Gala raised over $230,000. At the time of this interview, we are still waiting on final totals after expenses, but we will be very close to beating last year’s Gala. The Silent Auction alone made almost $30,000 this year. I chose Courtney Goolsby and Ashley Teague to chair this part of the Gala, and they knocked it out of the park. For this crowd, they focused on experiences more than items. There were dinners at donors’ homes that sold for $2000 and $3000. There was a trip to the CMT Awards that went for $4500. We introduced a Wine Pull to Jackson that grossed over $2500.
This year and in most recent years the monies are split equally between the Alice and Carl Kirkland Cancer Center and the Ayers Children’s Medical Center.
VIP: What sets this event apart from other events in Jackson/Madison County of which there are many?
GA: It is a premier event and the Foundation’s largest fundraiser. It is very well attended by around 700 people, and it is a high ticket event. It has been touted as Jackson’s most elegant event.
The West Tennessee Healthcare Foundation “serves as an arm for cancer care, therapy special needs children, ailing children and a myriad of other health-related causes that impact the people of Jackson and West Tennessee.” For more information visit wthfoundation.org.