On Tuesday, April 2nd, Capo Restaurant’s Supper Club hosted Neighborhood Night, a fundraiser in honor of Colin’s Joy Project, and what a night it was. The restaurant, located in South Boston on West Broadway, is known for its great italian food and even better entertainment. They host different events throughout the week, from “Sinatra Sunday” to comedy shows to live music. And although the purpose of Neighborhood Night wasn’t to entertain, it wasn’t any less captivating for its audience.
Colin’s Joy Project was created by Kerri and Brendan McGrath, the parents of Colin McGrath who was tragically killed in South Boston just shy of his 3rd birthday. The purpose of the project is to spread joy throughout the Boston community by enhancing playgrounds, building new play spaces, and supporting family focused programming for families in need. Colin’s Joy Project has teamed up with The Boston Foundation to sponsor children and family programming in South Boston through organizations such as Julie’s Family Learning Program, The South Boston Neighborhood House (“The Ollie”), The Boston Public Library, South Boston Catholic Academy, Boston Parks and Rec, and the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation. Their goal is to raise $600k, and thanks to the success of Neighborhood Night, they’re almost there! You can read more about Colin’s Joy Project and their community partners here.
It’s been evident since the accident that Southie is a community that takes care of their own. While Colin’s Joy Project intends to support the South Boston neighborhoods, it’s clear that the neighbors are here to support Colin’s Joy Project and the McGrath Family as well. When interviewed, Kerri McGrath said that over 300 people attended the fundraiser at Capo. She almost sounded surprised when she said “there were so many couples there...people who got babysitters to come to this instead of just sending one person and leaving another home with the kids. It was obvious that people tried really hard to come to this. The support from the community was amazing.” There were people of all ages and backgrounds; family, friends, neighbors and strangers came together to raise money for Colin’s Joy Project to better their community, spread joy, and remember Colin.
Everyone who attended was treated to delicious food, all donated by Capo. Attendees could visit “Colin’s General Store”, an area off to the side of the Supper Club where they could purchase Colin’s Joy Project merchandise. There were over 40 raffles and silent auction items donated by businesses in the community, including: a hockey stick signed by the 2019 Boston Bruins, passes to the Museum of Science, one night stays at both Hilton and Hyatt, a 3 month fitness membership, spa, beauty, and massage certificates, and dinners for 2 and 4 from several south Boston restaurants. The community outdid themselves in their generosity for Colin, and because of this, Colin’s Joy Project raised over $70,000.00
Just let that sink in for a minute. $70,000.00 in one night. It’s incredible, and it’s more than the McGrath’s and the Colin’s Joy Project team ever anticipated.
In addition to the entrance donations, the merchandise sales, and the auction items, one thing that contributed to the overall success of the night was the “Hands up for Colin” auction that took place toward the end of the evening. After Kerri and Brendan welcomed everyone and thanked them for coming, they played a short video clip highlighting Colin’s life so that everyone would truly understand why they were there that evening. In the video Colin is laughing, singing, and playing with his sister. He’s living life with the kind of uninhibited joy that only a child can possess, and it’s contagious. When the auctioneer stood up and announced that his bank would be donating $5,000.00 for Colin’s Joy Project, it opened up the floodgates for donations. 3 people donated $2,500.00. 10 people donated $1,000.00. Even more donated $500.00. The generosity of these people, many of whom had never met Colin, is unprecedented.
Over 20 volunteers made up the planning committee for this event. Local businesses donated balloons to decorate the space along with blown-up photos of Colin. Julie Ryan of JulieRyanPhotos.com donated her time and took pictures during the event (including the ones featured in this post). Tara Hayes from South Boston Online covered the event and wrote this piece for her website.
South Boston, you outdid yourself on this night. Because of you, Colin will leave behind more than memories. The money raised on this night will create a legacy in his name, to ensure many more kids will get to live life with pure joy the way that he did. Colin’s Joy Project is grateful beyond words.