Technology and online events cannot replace the relationships developed in a face-to-face manner. But Sunday's first-ever virtual gala hosted by Federated Insurance certainly raised over $3-million to support Big Brothers Big Sisters organizations in Minnesota and around the country.

Federated Insurance Chairman and CEO Jeff Fetters said in a news release, "We knew in our hearts that cancelling this year's event was not an option. And that decision became more significant this year than ever before, as many kids have been patiently waiting to be matched with a Big. Sunday's event set that in motion-opening the door to create strong bonds and long-lasting friendships."

Sixty-one businesses and over 500 people logged on to collectively raise $3,087,000 to support the mentoring program. Fetters said, "The Federated Challenge continues to be a first-class event, whether it's held in person or virtually...Collectively, the funds we raised during this event will directly support countless young people."

Jeff and Marty Fetters were joined by veteran Twin Cities broadcaster Dave Lee and included special message from members of the University of Minnesota athletic department, the Minnesota Timberwolves, and the Minnesota United Football Club.

All of the money raised is donated to Big Brothers Big Sisters programs in Minnesota and Big Brothers Big Sisters of America. Some proceeds benefit the Federated Challenge Scholarship Program which can help youth with college plans. About 100 students have received funds from the program since it started.

Fetters added, "Remarkable times call for remarkable people, and our generous Federated Challenge corporate sponsors and individual donors have answered the call. We may have been apart, but we still came together to help Big Brothers Big Sisters matches ignite potential."