Virtual Events Bring Our Community Together

As we learn to adjust to what is our “new normal” during this pandemic, feeling lonely and isolated isn’t unusual. Social distancing practices make it hard to establish a shared sense of camaraderie. Even connecting with immediate family is challenging.

As a philanthropic organization focused on community, the CHEST Foundation needed to find ways to bring people together safely during this time. Our solution: reimagine our events for a virtual space.


As with anything new, we weren’t exactly sure what to expect from a virtual environment. We wanted to start with something that not only looked easy, but also had a feeling a familiarity. It was decided. The Foundation’s first foray into virtual events would be – bingo.

“Mike was an engaging and hilarious host who brought everyone together. That sense of engagement we all experience at our in-person events was definitely felt through our computer screens throughout the night”

“We wanted to create an opportunity for our donors to come together and ‘turn off’ for an evening to have fun and forget about the pressures of the pandemic,” said Angela Perillo, Director, Development and Foundation Operations.

Over 100 participants registered for the online bingo night event. Hopes were riding high that, with Mike Nelson, MD, FCCP, hosting, the evening would feel like a large community hall gathering.

“Mike was an engaging and hilarious host who brought everyone together. That sense of engagement we all experience at our in-person events was definitely felt through our computer screens throughout the night,” said Perillo.

Riding on the coattails of bingo’s success, the Foundation quickly pivoted to hosting a virtual poker night with our long-time partner, the Feldman Family Foundation. Again, people flocked to the virtual tables. The Foundation raised more than $20,000 for the Buy-A-Mask, Give-A-Mask campaign and COVID-19 relief efforts.

“With over 90 poker players coming together to support this cause, and the overwhelming enthusiasm we received from guests, we knew that our dad, Irv Feldman, was smiling down on us,” said Mitchell Feldman, President of the Feldman Family Foundation.


Game nights were going well, but it was time to test new waters. The Foundation arranged to host a virtual wine night for our Atlanta-based members and potential supporters. Board of Trustees member, Dr. Burt Lesnick, emceed the event, which included a blind tasting led by a sommelier from Perrine’s Wine Shop.

“The wine tasting was a wonderful way to bring together fellow wine connoisseurs to test their knowledge on wines from around the world. And it was a great opportunity to spread awareness of the CHEST Foundation,” said Dr. Lesnick.

The Foundation champions lung health every day. The challenges facing those with lung disease are larger than ever. Finding a way to move forward was not optional for us, but it was fun.

Making it all possible were the Foundation supporters who registered for events and took a chance on having some fun in a new way. To join in on future events, be sure to check out our News and Events page at to reserve your spot. Hope to see you there!

“These events prove that when you work in an environment that cultivates innovation, not only can you have some serious fun, but you can make serious progress toward your goals. In our case, that’s crushing lung disease.”




In the midst of this pandemic and conflicting sentiments, there is an indisputable truth. Frontline workers need to have the appropriate personal protection equipment (PPE) to do their jobs, and our at-risk loved ones need to feel safe and supported.



Underserved communities lead the conversation on listen tour. As COVID-19 spreads across our country, the spotlight it casts on the inequalities that plague our most vulnerable and underrepresented communities has never been brighter.


The Donor Spotlight October 2020 issue is also available as a PDF  Download the PDF»