For his 15 years of dedication to Night of Giving, an annual musical benefit to help homeless individuals and families reach permanent housing, Mikail Graham was awarded a commemorative plaque from Hospitality House as a thank you for his many years of service. The award includes a framed handmade guitar comprised of punched copper as well as memorabilia from various events spanning the years that encapsulate the lasting impact of Night of Giving.

Graham serves on the Hospitality House board of directors and was presented the commemorative award during the Feb. 22 board meeting.

“To say I was surprised would be putting it mildly,” recalled Graham. “I was nearly speechless and am still processing this beautiful gift.”

Graham started Night of Giving at Joshua Stillwater Coopers, a former bar in Nevada City. One night at Coopers, Graham and friends “passed the hat” around to raise support for Hospitality House. That simple night of merriment turned into what it is today: a large annual musical benefit featuring dozens of Nevada County talent, hundreds of volunteers, and the drive to do more for those in need.

“Mikail’s dedication to our board and to the community at large is something I wish more people knew about,” said Steve Castleberry, Hospitality House Board President. “Because he had the dream and desire to do something meaningful, people have homes again.”

In peak years, upwards of 800 people came annually to attend Night of Giving at Miners Foundry with nearly 50 performers. However, hosting an event of this magnitude during a pandemic isn’t practical or safe. For the 15th year, Night of Giving transitioned into a virtual affair, but as in traditional years, hundreds joined virtually from the safety of their home, raising over $60,000 for those without a home.

“For me, each year was like the movie ‘Field of Dreams’ and that special moment where Kevin Costner’s character utters that great line, ‘If you build it, he will come’ with of course my variation being, ‘Ok we built it again, here’s hoping they will come,’ and thankfully they did year after year after year, with more support building each and every time.”

After volunteering countless hours to the event and helping hundreds of people return to housing, Graham made the difficult decision to pass the torch onto the next generation. Night of Giving will return in December 2021 with new faces leading the charge, but Graham will always be very much part of the Night of Giving story—a story he had the heart to create.

To help further services to those in need, the community’s support is always welcome and appreciated. Donations may be made at hhshelter.org, by calling 530-615-0852, or by sending a donation made payable to Hospitality House at 1262 Sutton Way, Grass Valley, CA 95945.

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