Father Joe’s Villages Gala raises $900,000 to support children who are homeless

On May 5, local philanthropists made lasting investments to create a brighter future for homeless children in San Diego. More than 400 guests gathered at the U.S. Grant Hotel and raised more than $900,000 – a record-breaking investment to support Father Joe’s Villages’ therapeutic childcare center and other services for children affected by homelessness.

“Father Joe’s Villages believes that every child, regardless of their circumstances, should have a bright future full of promise and possibility,” says Deacon Jim Vargas, president and CEO of Father Joe’s Villages. “It was clear that the hundreds of generous individuals who came together at that gala share this belief. The funds raised at this event are critical to providing the opportunity to thrive that these children need.”

Father Joe’s Villages provides housing, essential services and enrichment activities that ensure that families and children have the tools they need to break the cycle of homelessness. These tools include housing, nutritious meals, medical and dental care, employment services, specialized behavioral healthcare, childcare and so much more.

The 2018 Children’s Charity Gala, Up, Up and Away, recognized four long-time supporters of Father Joe’s Villages’ mission to end homelessness with awards: Qualcomm Co-Founder Franklin Antonio received the Father Joe’s Villages award for his Public Lunch Program, providing community members in need a nutritious meal daily.

Students from Cathedral Catholic High School were honored with the Bishop Maher Award for serving meals monthly for more than seven years.

Students from St. Augustine High School also received the Bishop Maher Award for 18 years of volunteer work at Father Joe’s Villages.

Jim Mulvaney Sr. and the Mulvaney family received the Founder’s Award for their continuation of Jim Mulvaney Sr.’s legacy as the first chairman of the board. Jim Jr. serves on the board, and the entire family supports their neighbors in need.

The gala’s program featured a VIP reception, silent and live auctions, along with a hosted bar and live music by Atomic Groove.

Homelessness is a growing issue that affects children across the nation. The San Diego County Office of Education reported in February 2018 that 23,854 students were homeless last year in San Diego County — a record high and a 4.7 percent increase from the previous year. That means the students at some point during the school year were living unsheltered, in transitional housing or shelters, in motels or hotels, or most frequently, doubled up in a home with another family.

Each year, in order to provide life-changing services for individuals and families who are homeless, Father Joe’s Villages must raise two thirds of its $33 million budget from private donations. To support these critical programs, please visit