GraceWay: Benefit show was a success

Photo by Casey Dixon

Photo by Casey Dixon

ALBANY -- Liz Dixon, the development director of GraceWay Recovery Residence, has barely been able to contain herself.

Chuck Leavell performed in a concert at the Albany Municipal Auditorium on Friday to benefit the organization, and the results were extraordinary. More than 700 people attended the show, with some calling in at the last minute to reserve their spot.

The overall impact will go a long way for the organization, Dixon said.

"GraceWay is a very, very nonprofit," she said. "It made a huge addition to our funding."

The event came to fruition when a connection between one of GraceWay's past presidents and Leavell eventually resulted in the musician being invited to play.

"It worked out perfectly," Dixon said.

Leavell's commitment to the cause did not end with the concert. The day after the event, the musician came in to help plant a tree that had been donated to the organization. While he was at the facility, he spotted a piano and started playing for the residents there.

"He gave a concert right there," Dixon said. "It was a spontaneous outpouring of the Holy Spirit."

Admission for the concert ranged from $35-$250. As of Tuesday, officials were still trying to calculate the monetary outcome the benefit had.

For several years, GraceWay has been providing women in the area impacted by substance abuse a place to seek recovery. Just like any other organization of its kind, it has been anything but immune to the effects of the economic recession.

"The economic situation has been tough for us like any other nonprofit," Dixon said. "Our donation base was way down from where we were. Everyone has been singing the blues."

As of Tuesday evening, GraceWay had received three phone calls since the event from persons interested in seeking the organization's services. Two of those potential clients decided to commit.

There are 12 women in-house at GraceWay, which has a capacity of 15. Sitting next door is a set of transitional housing units, which have a capacity of 18. The money raised from Friday's event will go directly to food, shelter, treatment and recovery meetings for the organization's residents.

"Everyone deserves a fresh start," Dixon said. "We are extremely grateful to the community. When we come together as a community, we can make a difference.

"If they can't find us, they can't find help for substance abuse. These events give us the opportunity to have our existence exposed."

There are other fundraisers in the works for GraceWay. In June, the organization plans to hold its annual 5K run/one-mile fun run at Lake Blackshear. Over 300 attended last year's event, Dixon said.

"Everybody knows somebody in their circle that needs help," Dixon said. "There are opportunities for women to start fresh."

GraceWay is located at 412 W. Tift Ave.