Friends of Children’s Hospital is thrilled to announce that after the fifth and final Evening with the Mannings, Presented by BankPlus event, the fundraising campaign has raised more than $2.9 million. The proceeds from this event benefit Friends and the Eli Manning Children’s Clinics at the Blair E. Batson Hospital for Children.

“It has been an honor to work with BankPlus and Friends of Children’s Hospital to help raise money for this important work,” said Eli Manning. “Because of the passion and commitment of so many Mississippians, we have not only achieved our campaign goal, but exceeded it. As a father, this is even more meaningful to me. I hope the strong support of Friends will continue long after this campaign.”

The fifth and final event was held Saturday, June 25, 2011 at the Jackson Convention Complex in downtown Jackson. Archie and Eli Manning were in attendance with their wives. The event was a true celebration of the fundraiser’s success, featuring entertainment by Atlanta’s Big Swing & The Ballroom Blasters.  A highlight of the event was the fine food prepared by the talented culinary staff of Chef Emeril Lagasse. All of the event’s catering was overseen by Chef Chris Wilson, Culinary Director for Emeril Lagasse.  At the event, Eli Manning encouraged guests to continue their support of Friends through memberships, other fundraising events and Friends car tags, mentioning he and his wife Abby Manning had recently purchased Friends car tags for their own Mississippi vehicles.

As presenting sponsor of the event, BankPlus has paid all of the event’s expenses so 100% of the proceeds raised have directly benefited Friends of Children’s Hospital and the Eli Manning Clinics.

“I’m delighted An Evening with the Mannings has exceeded its fundraising goal and that BankPlus could play such an integral part in funding the construction of the Eli Manning Children’s Clinics,” said BankPlus President & CEO, Bill Ray. “This event has allowed Friends to fund a much-needed, premier healthcare facility that will benefit all of Mississippi’s children. While 2011 brings us to the final Manning event, I hope significant support for Friends will continue.”