The holiday season is an inherently celebratory time, making it the perfect backdrop for raising awareness and funds for a great cause. The Festival of Trees, which benefited Special Olympics Minnesota in its inaugural year, takes the festive experience of admiring holiday decorations and pairs it with storytelling and engagement to bring people together to rally around a cause.
The Festival of Trees is a display of more than 50 trees, each decorated by a local organization, company, or sports team. Mall of America® guests are invited to walk through the displays—marveling at the sight, learning about the featured nonprofit from its own storyboards and volunteers, and vying to win the decorations on display through a raffle for each tree. In its inaugural year, more than 50,000 people enjoyed the experience, prompting an expansion for the second year of the program. First-year visitors helped raise close to $50,000 for Special Olympics Minnesota, but more importantly, Special Olympics Minnesota had the opportunity to share its story and celebrate its athletes.
Special Olympics Minnesota is part of a global movement of people creating a new world of inclusion and community. Through Special Olympics, people with intellectual and physical disabilities celebrate their abilities by participating in individual and team sports.
One thing rang clear in the first annual Festival of Trees: Mall of America guests enjoy the opportunity to celebrate the season while helping a local nonprofit. In its second year, the festival is set to double in size.
You don’t need a massive gala to celebrate your cause (though the Mall can help you with that too). Sometimes, you just need a little bit of merriment and a compelling, uplifting story.