The Benedictine Foundation held its annual Spring Gala fundraiser, themed “An Evening In Casablanca,” on Saturday, May 6th for the first time at the Trident Aircraft Hangar in Easton catered by Momma Maria’s. The new location will allow Benedictine to grow its fundraiser and expand its outreach into the Easton Community. The “Dignity of Work” video was premiered and community awards were presented at the celebratory gathering of Benedictine’s supporters, families, friends and community members. This important fundraiser benefits the children and adults living with developmental disabilities and autism that Benedictine supports.
“For me, the Gala is an opportunity to celebrate Benedictine’s mission and values and to thank those that support us,” commented Benedictine Executive Director Scott Evans. “It was a highlight of the evening to view the “Dignity of Work” video and see how Benedictine positively impacts the lives of those we serve. Showcasing our community partners and our families in these stories truly emphasizes that we cannot achieve our goals alone. The evening was made even more special by celebrating in such a unique space!”
The “Dignity of Work” video shared a handful of stories about the amazing work being done by Benedictine’s students and adults working in the community. Thank you to Tenchi in Greensboro where a student of Benedictine, Ben, can be found creating new smoothie recipes; St. Michael’s Inn, which employs supported adult Emily who always has a welcoming smile for guests; Dixon Valve where another Benedictine student, David, assists with production and brings joy to the workplace; Chesapeake Graphics where Nick’s ability with math helps the organization to stay on target; and Hogs Neck Golf Course that employees two of Benedictine’s supported adults – Nicky, who enjoys fulfilling requests; and Joey, who’s a hard worker and wants to always learn new things.
Several awards were also presented during the evening. Spud Blake, the founder of the Chrome City Ride fundraiser, was presented with the Cornerstone Award, which acknowledges an individual that demonstrates a steadfast commitment and remarkable generosity to Benedictine. “I am grateful and humbled by receiving this award, but it goes to all the committee members that had the vision to see what Chrome City could do. Not only does the event raise funds and bring awareness to Benedictine’s mission of helping children and adults with developmental disabilities achieve their greatest potential – but, more importantly, it brings joy and excitement to the students and adults as they see the motorcycles and cars ride down the lane on the campus in Ridgely!” Spud was presented the award by Charley Mills, President of the Board of Trustees. This event has raised more than $2MM in support of Benedictine since its inception 20 years ago.
The new Heart of Benedictine Award was first announced at last year’s gala to be given in honor of Sister Mary Agnes. The recipient is to embody the qualities of love and dedication of service that Sister has demonstrated over her many years with Benedictine. Chosen by Benedictine’s Executive Director, this year’s first award was given posthumously to Beth Mathis, who worked as Benedictine’s Adult Services Director. The award was accepted on behalf of Beth’s family by a dear friend, Kate LaMotte. “Beth was a passionate advocate for people with developmental disabilities and believed in equity for those she supported to have access to meaningful work, to be able to experience meaningful relationships, and to live a life with dignity. Benedictine sparked a fire in her that was amazing to see and we can say beyond certainty that she loved working at Benedictine from the truest part of her heart!” All of those touched by Beth’s passion and dedication know that she is truly deserving of receiving this honor.
Sharon Walbert, Adult Services Residential House Counselor, was this year’s Sister Jeannette recipient. Sharon was presented the award in a celebratory luncheon earlier this year and recognized at the gala. Scott Evans spoke of her numerous accolades and years of service at Benedictine. “Sharon has committed her life to helping others. She works tirelessly to provide those she supports with opportunities to increase their skills, be involved in the community, stay connected with their families, and be as independent as possible.”
“It was a terrific evening,” commented Benedictine Board of Directors President and SVP & Corporate Secretary for Pfizer, Margaret Madden. “The gathering of family, friends, and community members to celebrate accomplishments and raise funds for Benedictine’s students and supported adults was truly inspirational. Thank you to everyone who supported the event and made the evening a success!”
Thank you to our sponsors and business partners for supporting Benedictine and making “An Evening In Casablanca” such a success! Brandon Becker, The Mills Family, The Mallas Family, The Higgs Family, Tom & Jacqueline Collamore, Bette Kenzie, Matt & Ellen Hoffman, Margaret Madden, Rae Hurley, Kathy Marshall, Sanford Morhouse & Patty Hogan, Edward & Michele Cantlin, Vincent & Joanne Fontana, Mark Burkhalter, Joseph & Karen Day, James Adams, Barbara Harkaway, Patricia & John Krieger, Adrienne & Sam Klewans, Gary & Sally Duckworth, Marguerite Samuels, Sandra Amato, The Fletcher Family, Hunter & Celia Duckworth, Don & Kathy Jacques, Joseph & Michele Steinitz, Easton Utilities, Preston Automotive Group, Tri Gas & Oil, Barstow & Sons, NRG Reliant Energy, Momma Maria’s, CGS Architects, Trident Aircraft, Paul & Joanne Prager through Bluepoint Hospitality, Tidewater Times, Sky Castle Institute, Trade Whims, Tred Avon Players, Maven & Smith, Mid South Audio, Nerve Center Media, On Your Mark Lighting, Sweet C Cookies, DJ Jason Bailiff, cocktail hour musician Graham Gloeckler, Christina Lippincott Design, Impressive Printing, auctioneer Frank Bartz, Pierson’s Comfort Group, David North and Joan Hoge-North, 4 Shore Party Rentals, ABC Party Rentals, BK Rentals, Eastern Shore Tents and Events, flowers by Benedictine Garden Center and signage by Benedictine Graphics.
Benedictine is a non-sectarian nonprofit organization supporting close to 200 children and adults with developmental disabilities and autism achieve their greatest potential and highest level of independence. Benedictine’s year-round educational program is one of only 26 nationwide to earn a two-year accreditation from the National Commission for Accreditation of Special Education Services (NCASES). This program includes home-like living and learning options on the Ridgely, Maryland campus, for children ages 5 to 21 who come from Maryland and surrounding states. Benedictine’s Adult Services program offers employment and vocational services for transitional youth and adults, ages 22 to 70+, in the community and those who live in Benedictine’s group homes in Caroline, Talbot, and Anne Arundel Counties. Benedictine’s Easton Community Services & Training Center prepares the adults it serves to enter the workforce and collaborates with the collaborates with the Talbot, Queen Anne’s, Caroline and Dorchester County public schools to provide services to their students through the Department of Rehabilitation Services (DORS) Program. Benedictine is one of the Eastern Shore’s largest employers with over 350 employees. For more information, visit www.benschool.org.