The Center of Family Love (CFL), a residential and vocational nonprofit for individuals with intellectual and physical disabilities, raised over $500,000 on Saturday evening, June 20, with their brand-new Live Stream Telethon event. The event replaced the organization’s 7th Annual Gift of Love Gala, which has raised over $1 million each of the past two years.CFL resident, Patti C., made history as the first intellectually disabled individual to co-host an event of such magnitude for the organization. Patti C. has expressed her excitement at having had the opportunity to represent her friends at the center and share her gifts with the world as she worked alongside Malcom Tubbs, OKC Thunder Emcee, Fox 25 News Feature Reporter and OU Football On-Field Host.“I feel pretty proud to have hosted,” said Patti C. “I know God put me at the center because he wants me to help others. Some of my friends can’t speak, and I get to speak for them. As a host, I got to tell everyone that my friends just want to be treated like somebody. This is a good place to live because they treat everyone with respect.”Patti C. and Tubbs worked together to introduce special guest appearances, Frank Sinatra inspired entertainment by the Wade Tower Band, a variety of silent auction, chance and pull items, and a cover of a popular TikTok video by her friends at the center.“The Center of Family Love is quickly becoming a pioneer in the nonprofit world,” said Robinette Ross, retired Chronicle of Philanthropy publisher. “The organization has forged ahead in spite of a global crisis by adopting cutting edge fundraising methods while simultaneously maintaining critical donor outreach.”The live stream allowed registered guests to watch the event unfold from the comfort of their own homes. One lucky guest won a Big Green Egg Grill, deep freezer and a locally harvested quarter side of beef in a live drawing during the event just for having registered. Another guest won the $10,000 cash raffle grand prize, and many other guests won chance prizes like a fully lit eight-foot Christmas tree and a personal holiday decorator, a cold brew drip tower, Jose Cuervo branded Adirondack chairs, flattop grill and tequila, Ugg robe and slippers, and more. In addition to the fun prizes and activities, guests were given opportunities throughout the event to make online or telephone donations in support of CFL’s 130 residents. On several occasions, Patti C. expressed her gratitude for the generosity of everyone who gave to support her and the other residents at the organization.“You give me freedom to do what I like to do,” said Patti C. “Some of my friends that live here probably wouldn’t get a chance to live a normal life if they were not here at the center. A lot of my friends need this place, and I need it too. I thank God for you because you help us so much.”All proceeds from the event help cover the organization’s yearly operational deficit of $1.7 million. CFL says these donations are especially important this year to cover the residents’ basic needs due to the impact COVID-19 has had on their typical fundraising appeals. “I think Patti said it best,” said CFL President and CEO Debbie Espinosa, “Many of the incredible individuals we serve simply wouldn’t have the opportunity to live the lives they deserve if the center didn’t exist, which is why your support is crucial. From the bottom of our hearts, we thank everyone who faithfully supports our residents. You are the reason we are able to continue providing these opportunities now and for generations to come.”This event is made possible by sponsors like Nortek Air Solutions, the Ovid E. Fowlkes & Leona G. Fowlkes Foundation, the Knights of Columbus and Mike & Judy Johnson.For nearly 40 years, the Center of Family Love has empowered individuals living with intellectual and physical disabilities to reach for and achieve their dreams. As a leader in the long-term direct-care field, we provide revolutionary residential services and career opportunities for individuals living with disabilities, including: Down syndrome, cerebral palsy, autism, muscular dystrophy, developmental delays, traumatic brain injuries, neurological disabilities, geriatric needs and more. We never charge individuals or their families for the lifetime care they receive in the event they cannot afford it, and we are committed to encouraging independence and growth in every individual we serve.