Family, friends and generous supporters of Benedictine helped to raise just over $200,000 at this year’s Spring Benefit: A Night at the Races, held at the Tidewater Inn in Easton, Md., May 3-4. This annual event generates vital support for Benedictine’s mission to help children and adults with developmental disabilities achieve their greatest potential.
The evening of philanthropy included a sophisticated Southern hospitality dinner prepared by Chef Daniel, live viewing of the races, and an exhilarating live auction. Guests raised their bid paddles for a chance to win luxury get-a-ways, one-of-a-kind experiences and collectable memorabilia with the help of guest auctioneer George Wooden, a retired Maryland State Trooper and founder of BW Unlimited Charity Fundraising.
Over 200 guests, many arriving in iconic Derby fashion, gathered in support of Benedictine’s programs and services including special guests: Senator Steve Arentz and his wife Biana, Caroline County Commissioner Dan Franklin and his wife and Benedictine Assistant Principal, Stephanie, and Ridgely Town Council Member Anthony Casey and his wife Amy, along with State Delegate Johnny Mautz and State Senator Addie Eckardt.
For the first time, the event was co-chaired by siblings of students at Benedictine – Mia Marinucci of Chester, Md., a settlement agent at Liberty Title, and Matt Hoffman of Washington, D.C., Vice President of Innovation at Enterprise Community Partners, Inc.
“Watching the Derby tonight I couldn’t help but think that we are gathered here in the spirit of Benedictine choosing to run a race for those who cannot do it alone,” said Marinucci. “Since Benedictine has been a part of my family, we have crossed many finish lines and I couldn’t be more proud of the outgoing and compassionate person my big brother Dominic has become while at Benedictine.”
The Benefit weekend kicked off with a Board meeting Friday morning. The leadership team also participated in Fun Day on the School’s campus in Ridgely by engaging with students during the pirate-themed day of activities.
During Friday evening’s Welcome Reception, the Board of Directors President, Thomas Collamore presented the Sister Jeannette Award to Teacher Tarra Gourdine. The Award, established in 2012 in honor of Sister Jeannette Murray who served at Benedictine for over 30 years, represents the values and vision of the Benedictine community. Since 1997 Gourdine has served many roles at Benedictine from: a one-on-one aide, to an assistant in the speech department, a Case Manager, Direct Support Professional; Communications Assistant; and today as a Teacher.
Saturday’s Southern hospitality gala included the presentation of Benedictine’s Cornerstone Award to Senator Thomas V. Mike Miller, Jr. Cornerstone recipients are recognized for extraordinary support of Benedictine. Although Senator Miller wasn’t able to join the festivities, his long-standing support of Benedictine exemplifies the guiding principles of this award.
“Many years ago Sister Jeannette developed a close relationship with Senator Miller. The Senator was always willing to assist Benedictine with special projects by supporting state grants that included the well water system, the swimming pool, and numerous campus renovations, including assisting in the construction of many of our group homes,” said Board President, Charley Mills. “Over the past 30 years those state grants have totaled more than $5 million, and while I can mention other important individuals in Annapolis who have helped Benedictine over the years, Senator Mike Miller is the one politician who has been there for Benedictine year in and year out.”
About Spring Benefit:
For more than 40 years, Benedictine has hosted this annual night of hospitality and philanthropy to raise funds for the organization’s programs and services in support of children and adults with developmental disabilities and autism. As the hallmark fundraising event for the Benedictine Foundation, the gala generates revenue for specific projects including vocational training programs and support for the education and care of individuals served every day, 365 days a year. In total, Spring Benefit has raised nearly $10 million for Benedictine. The Foundation looks forward to next year’s 2020 Spring Benefit celebrating the organization’s 60th anniversary.