Our 2017 Leading Lights Gala was an overwhelming success, raising nearly $150,000 for FCS programs and services! More than 210 guests gathered at Navesink Country Club in Middletown on Saturday, October 14, to celebrate 108 years of FCS and pay tribute to six exceptional individuals: former FCS board president Dolores Klein, former FCS board member Donald Bush and members of the philanthropic rock band, The Docs of Rock, Lawrence Sykoff, Ed.D, Dr. David Lessing, Dr. Kenneth Grossman and Dr. Scott Woska.
The ballroom sparkled in the glow of the evening’s decorations. Black and white tablecloths accented with table runners made to look like piano keyboards, and glass cylinder centerpieces filled with fairy lights and orchids transported guests back to the glamorous era of the Rat Pack. The evening’s entertainment, New Life Crisis, carried the theme through the cocktail hour by playing a selection of famous hits from the 40’s and 50’s as guests took to the dance floor. There was even a Martini bar offering specially-crafted Martinis festooned with a giant martini glass filled with olives.
As guests gathered for dinner, they perused the dozens of silent auction items on tables throughout the room including original artwork, collectible wine, fine jewelry, tickets to theater and sporting events and other specialty items, all donated to help raise additional funds for the agency. The Gala is FCS’s largest fundraiser of the year and helps support our 14 services and programs that address issues of homelessness; neglect abuse and exploitation; health and respite care, long term care planning, childhood literacy and obesity.
The Live Auction, hosted by FCS Board member, Gala committee member and Auctioneer extraordinaire Tiffany Senft featured two fabulous one-of-a-kind experiences. The winning bid for the Backyard Bash, which included a raw bar and slider bar for 50, a case of wine, keg of craft bar and a DJ, went to Julie and Salvatore Morale. The second winning bid for two box-seat tickets to the 2018 Kentucky Derby with accommodations for three nights plus private transportation went to Al Gold. In addition, Tiffany issued a call for funds for FCS’s Operation Sleighbells, raising more than $10,000 for the holiday gift giving program.
The highlight of the evening was of course the recognition of our “Leading Lights.” FCS board chair Paul Stach presented the agency’s 2017 Community Service Award to the Docs of Rock in recognition of “their generous support, community spirit and commitment to the FCS Mission.” Made up entirely of doctors, the Docs use their extraordinary talents to raise funds for many Monmouth County non-profits, including FCS’s Operation Sleighbells. Lead guitarist Lawrence Sykoff, Ed.D, headmaster emeritus at Ranney School, who accepted the award on the band’s behalf, says the group has raised more than $800,000 thus far for area charities and hopes to top the one million dollar mark before year’s end. Later in the evening, the Docs took to the stage to play a set for guests, who were thoroughly entertained by their performance!
Paul also presented the first of the agency’s two 2017 Lifetime Service Awards to his good friend and fellow FCS board member Donald Bush. Don recently retired from the board after nearly 18-years of service, where he was best known for approaching challenges with wisdom, grace and humor. “In his resignation letter to the board, Don wrote, ‘I feel that I took much more from FCS than I ever gave.’ Paul told the gathering, adding, “Respectfully, we disagree.”
Last, but certainly not least, FCS CEO Delly Beekman presented the 2017 Lifetime Service Award to former FCS board president Dolores Klein. Dolores was a part of the FCS family for 14 years from 2002-2016, including two years as president. A gifted and talented event planner, Dolores chaired the FCS annual Gala three times, including its 100th Anniversary Gala Celebration in 2009. In presenting the award, Delly told those gathered that the best testament to Dolores’ legacy at FCS is her two granddaughters who are now active volunteers with the agency.
All of us are deeply grateful to everyone who contributed to the success of the 2017 Leading Lights Gala, including our extraordinary co-chairs Donna Goss Robinson and Joanne Sadowsky, our Gala committee, our Board of Directors, our underwriters, sponsors, auction donors and all those who attended. We congratulate all our wonderful honorees and extend our warmest thanks to all for making the Gala a shining evening to remember!
Please enjoy our photo gallery of the evening, and be sure to mark Saturday, October 13, 2018 on your calendar for next year’s Leading Lights Gala!