Serve & Connect to host 2022 Illuminight Gala on March 18

Columbia, SC — Serve & Connect will host its annual fundraiser, the Illuminight Gala, on March 18 at 800 Junction in downtown Columbia. The nonprofit’s signature fundraising event celebrates the organization's mission, including the presentation of the Greg Alia Award and the Changemaker Award. This year’s event is presented by The City of Forest Acres.

This year’s Illuminight Gala will feature special guest and keynote speaker Chris Singleton, a best-selling author and former Chicago Cubs-drafted baseball player. Singleton will speak about the power of love over hate. Singleton’s mother, Sharonda Coleman-Singleton, was one of the nine victims in the Mother Emanuel AME Church shooting in 2015.

“We believe in the power of people to drive change. We believe that people are capable of accomplishing great things, especially when we work together,” shares Kassy Alia Ray, founder and CEO of Serve & Connect. “I remain amazed at the level of change we have witnessed in such a relatively short time. The Illuminight Gala is our way to shed light on our community’s efforts and hope for what’s to come. To have Chris join us is such an honor. His message is powerful and one that is critically important for us to hear.”

Guests will also enjoy live entertainment from The Mickens Band, catering by The Southern Way, open bar and wine donated by Josh Wines, and more.

Serve & Connect is offering guests multiple event packages, including tables and individual tickets. Those interested in purchasing tickets to the gala can do so online at Sponsorship levels are available to individuals and businesses interested in showing additional support to the event.

Serve & Connect has brought together dozens of community leaders, local businesses and law enforcement officials to collaborate to reduce crime and improve safety. Serve & Connect’s evidence-informed work conducted in North Columbia has led to an expansion of similar programs in Kershaw, Newberry, Fairfield and Orangeburg counties. Serve & Connect has also been recognized for its work by national organizations and media outlets, including The Stand Together Foundation, Time magazine, the “Today” show, and many others.


Serve & Connect is a Columbia-based nonprofit that works directly with law enforcement, community stakeholders, and citizen leaders to address root causes of crime and promote safety, so everyone thrives. For more information, visit

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