Sunset Soiree Raises $223,000 For Valerie’s House

Submitted By: Susan Bennett

FORT MYERS, FLA. – Supporters of Valerie’s House helped lift up children who have lost a parent or family member at Sunset Soiree, the signature event of Valerie’s House, the only organization in Southwest Florida with its sole mission to help support grieving children.

A sold-out crowd of 300 people at Miromar Lakes Beach and Golf Club Thursday, Oct. 17, raised $223,000 through sponsorships, ticket sales, children’s artwork and both silent and live auctions. A surprise $25,000 gift from Northern Trust helped elevate the total raised during an evening filled with children’s testimonials about how Valerie’s House has impacted the way they have healed after the death of a parent or sibling. The annual Sunset Soiree event makes it possible for Valerie’s House to offer grief support free to all families.

“We are forever grateful for the support of our community and the love they have shown to Valerie’s House children who most need our comfort and compassion. By attending Sunset Soiree, our guests helped us fulfill our vision that no child will grieve alone,” said Valerie’s House Founder and CEO Angela Melvin. .

Valerie’s House has helped 800 children and their families since its founding in 2016 by Melvin, whose own mother was killed in a car accident in Fort Myers in 1987. The non-profit organization uses art and music to help children identify, express and process their grief.

Florida Gulf Coast University President Dr. Michael Martin and his wife Jan were the honorary chairs of the event for the second year in a row with ABC-7 Anchor Krista Fogelsong serving as mistress of ceremonies.

“Jan and I have both seen Valerie’s House in person and met with the children there and were touched by the work they do. There is nothing else like Valerie’s House in all of Southwest Florida,” Dr. Martin said.

Auction items included art created by the children of Valerie’s House as well as vacation packages and dining experiences.

Golisano Children’s Hospital was the presenting sponsor of the event for the second year. Other major sponsors included Victory Layne Chevrolet, Enterprise Holdings, Florida Gulf Coast University, Sanibel Captiva Community Bank IBERIABANK, and Midland Self-Directed IRAs and 1031s.

For more information about Valerie’s House or to register a family for programs, visit, call 239-204-5804, or email Valerie’s House is fully supported through community donations that can be made online at or by mail to Valerie’s House, Inc., P.O. Box 1955, Fort Myers, FL 33902.

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