Executing a Philanthropic Event During the COVID-19 Pandemic

October 2, 2021
Sonia Gossai

For this first episode of Experiential Experts, hosts Lorre Crisswell and Holly Zalenski spoke with Aimee McGranahan, Chief Operating Officer at Spookstock Foundation about hosting a philanthropic event during the pandemic. Aimee McGranahan’s mission is to support shadow warriors and their families. The foundation she works for supports these families through various fundraising events they host.

McGranahan began her involvement with the foundation from the outside as a patron when the organization first began in 2012. In 2016, McGranahan took her first steps toward supporting the foundation at a higher level, which led to her current role as COO.

“We bring in headliner entertainment, and we host an event. It is ‘invite only,’” McGranahan said. “We call ourselves the ‘ungala.’ We’re beer, barbeque and concert. One of the unique features that we dois a call out to the intelligence community and defense community to do a battle of the bands. It’s really interesting to see how many talented musicians exist in this community.”While these events feature some big-name talent, McGranahan said that it was an essential part of the mission to raise funds for these families that the event is something unique to draw interest.

“To date, we’ve given $3.6 million to our benefiting charities, which are the CIA Officers Memorial Foundation, the Special Officers Warrior Foundation, and the Defense Intelligence Memorial Foundation.”

But, like any event during the past year, planning a philanthropic event philanthropic event for the foundation in 2021 was no easy task due to the ongoing pandemic. McGranahan said they did work through the challenges to host a successful event this past April. They worked with several vendors to provide and meet all safety guidelines to ensure people could attend without worrying about COVID-19.

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