This August, the FedExFamilyHouse Gala will celebrate a decade of raising funds to continue our mission of providing free lodging to our families. The event's continued success will also be vital as we have expanded the FedExFamilyHouse to 75 guest suites. Every year, this event raises 65 percent of FedExFamilyHouse operational support.
This event is usually attended by over 720 guests, largely from leadership of national corporations, Memphis-area businesses and individual philanthropists. It is one of our city's most successful and well-attended fundraisers. The event includes a private reception for top donors, a cocktail reception and silent auction, seated gourmet dinner, remarks, live auction and a late-night, ultra lounge with a DJ and dancing. Past Honorary Chairs have included: Country music sensation Martina McBride, NFL quarterback Drew Brees, NFL quarterback Eli Manning, NBA great Earvin "Magic" Johnson, actress Hillary Swank, and NFL player DeAngelo Williams.
Melinda, her husband Jonny, and their two children live in Collierville, TN. She works as a Human Resources Advisor at FedEx Cross Border, and is a proud University of Memphis alumna and lifelong Mid Southerner.
Melinda serves on the FedExFamilyHouse Advisory Council and this is her fifth year working on the gala. Her relationship with FedExFamilyHouse began almost ten years ago when she volunteered with a FedEx Cares group making breakfast for the families. Having come from a family who suffered the loss of a child with a long-term illness, she felt an instant connection to the FedExFamilyHouse.
“In the faces of the families staying at the FedExFamilyHouse, I see my grandparents, my dad, and his siblings. Volunteering and fundraising for FedExFamilyHouse is my way of giving back to the community and my own family, and I am grateful for that opportunity.”
Production Lead and Chair Emeritus: Ed Coleman
Sponsorships: Bobby Brown and Lisa Vinson
Live Auction: Amy Dixon and Stefanie Schwegman
Silent Auction: Melissa Mullady, Kathy Ringler and Marie McVay
Light Up the House: Katie Franklin
Late-Night Lounge: Aly Hancock
Registration: Pam Hankins and Lisa Story
Volunteers: Traci Stubblefield and Carol Guenther
Platinum Reception: Bobbi Whaley Wheeler
Design & Décor: Carol Duffy
Social Media: Jacob Merryman
Logistics: Shannon Velloff
Le Bonheur Foundation: Sandra Lewis, Amber Orr and Elizabeth Salton
The Susan Vielhaber Graf Volunteer Award was established to recognize individuals or groups who have provided exceptional volunteer service to the FedExFamilyHouse. This prestigious award was created to honor Susan’s vision, devotion, hard work and passion which helped build, establish and support this beautiful home-away-from-home. Her volunteer hours and efforts have set the standard and paved the way for others to follow.
The Susan Vielhaber Graf Volunteer Award honors individuals or groups who have gone above and beyond to support our mission to provide comfort and care to Le Bonheur patient families in their greatest time of need. The annual recognition, presented each year at the FedExFamilyHouse Gala, is awarded to a recipient who emulates Susan’s volunteer efforts. This award emphasizes the valuable contributions of volunteer support and will specifically highlight the recipient’s ongoing contributions which have made a remarkable, measurable difference in the lives of families and children.
A perpetual plaque is prominently displayed at the FedExFamilyHouse to honor Susan’s contributions and the ongoing efforts of our important volunteers.
2013 – Susan Graf (when award was established)
2014 – Jeanine Watts
2015 – Peggy Cleary
2016 – Lisa Vinson
2017 – Dana Segel
2018 – Linda Hills
2019 – Ed Coleman