Care Resource Cancels ‘White Party’ (For Now)

Guests at The White Party in 2018. SFGN File Photo

A late September announcement raised some eyebrows: Care Resource Community Health Centers would not host its annual “White Party” in November.

The reaction was understandable. The event goes back years and is a tradition for the organization and its supporters. It serves as a major fundraiser and promotes awareness of everything the group does in health and support services across South Florida. 

Indeed the organization itself emerged from the White Party – which was born in Miami in the midst of the worst of the HIV/AIDS crisis in the 1980s. (The group was called the Health Crisis Network at the time). 

Last year’s White Party took place at Miami’s historic Vizcaya Museum and Gardens where the original party happened and where it’s been hosted off and on for years since. About 400 people attended.

Care Resource’s Jonathan Walsh said there won’t be a party this year, but not to worry. Think of this year’s cancellation more as a postponement. (More on that later.)

Opportunity costs

Last year’s White Party had some unique challenges, like landing on the same date as an Elton John concert in Miami. It pulled potential attendees away.

“At the same time it was wonderful. We did it as an opportunity for us to talk about our new building expansion and renovation in the heart of Midtown Miami,” Walsh, who is the associate director of development and communications, said. 

He said organizing a White Party takes a lot of time and effort. There are the real costs and the opportunity costs.

“It takes four months to plan,” Walsh said. “Are we in the business of event production or health care delivery? We’re health care people, not circuit or club people.”

Walsh’s responsibilities include organizing the White Party, AIDS Walk Miami and a health fair, in addition to capital plan fundraising. 

He said over time he’s tried to tailor the White Party to make it more manageable and in line with Care Resource’s core values. 

This year was no different. He gathered a diverse team to get input and looked at hotels, restaurants, private homes and all kinds of different venue possibilities.

“Doing a party these days is more and more expensive,” Walsh said. 

It didn’t help that the event was due to land about a week before Art Basel, when almost every desirable Miami venue is gobbled up. 

“When you look into all the costs of production, entertainment, marketing, food – it’s very expensive. Then, your event has to, of course, raise more,” he said. 

Walsh eventually decided it was best to wait until the new digs are completed.

“How about when the new building is opened we can perhaps evaluate having the White Party gala on the rooftop of our new building?” he said excitedly.

So this year, in lieu of the White Party, the organization decided to put its efforts behind the fifth annual “United for Care (U4C)” health fair in historic Overtown. The event took place Oct. 26.

“Together with our partners and in place of the White Party, United for Care (U4C) will further leverage existing community resources, programs and local expertise in order to reduce the gaps in access and retention to care,” Walsh said in the late September announcement.

The look ahead

Care Resource began in response to the HIV/AIDS epidemic, but expanded in 2009 to become a community health center to include primary medical, dental, behavioral health care and case management. The organization runs a food pantry and other social support services as well.

It’s also a Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC) that serves men, women, youth, and children of all ages, races, and ethnicities.

The massive $33 million expansion project is scheduled to be completed in May 2020. It will allow the group to at least double the amount of people it currently serves. 

The organization has grown 471% since 2010.

“That’s very exciting. We’re poised to grow even more,” Walsh said.

The existing development is going from two-stories and 22,000 square feet to seven-stories and 55,000 square feet.

For the first time, its Food For Life Network and nutritional center will be located in the same building.

Care Resource’s Midtown Miami location is at 3510 Biscayne Blvd. There are also locations in Little Havana, Miami Beach and Fort Lauderdale. More information is at