Legal Outreach is a 30-year-old nonprofit organization that offers educational programs to New York City middle and high school students from underserved communities.

In honor of its 30th anniversary, Legal Outreach wanted to host a 30th anniversary gala. The gala would highlight the milestones of the organization, but more importantly, serve as a fundraising opportunity for the organization as part of its expansion to admit more students to the program.

While the organization has been around for 30 years, most of its current support comes from a very small group of private donors. Our goal was to leverage these existing relationships to identify new opportunities for additional support and create a fundraising model that Legal Outreach could continue to use for years to come.

Since Legal Outreach hadn’t done a fundraising event in 10 years, it relied on The Wakeman Agency to guide it through all aspects of the event planning as well as to spearhead the event fundraising efforts.

The Plaza Hotel was selected for this special occasion. We transformed the grand ballroom and foyer into an environment that told the story of Legal Outreach. Keeping Legal Outreach students at the center of our plan, we integrated them into every aspect of the event from ushers upon arrival at The Plaza, to presenters, game show hosts and program Ambassadors.

This allowed guests to interact with the students throughout the event. Legal Outreach has a rigorous curriculum. To illustrate the rigors of the program, we created a Grammar Game and a Constitutional Law game that allowed guests to answer questions created by the students.

Throughout the awards program, guests got to hear firsthand accounts of the program’s impact on alumni and current students.

The Board of Directors and Executive Director have all heralded the event as a huge success.


  • Exceeded fundraising goal by 10%
  • Exceeded attendance goal by 20%
  • Cultivated new relationships based on strategy formulated by Wakeman Agency
  • Showcased impact of program on students
  • Created model that can be used for future fundraising events