Leading Lights Gala to Honor Lights of the Community

IMG_1617The 2016 FCS Gala Committee invites you to join them on Saturday, October 29th at Navesink Country Club in Middletown, NJ, for the 2016 Leading Lights Gala honoring former FCS Board chair Mary Ann McDonald and two long-time community partners Bruce Thompson and Thompson Memorial Home, and Gloria NilsonGala_savethedate_2016_Page_1The Leading Lights Gala, named for the beacons used in navigation to indicate safe passage for vessels entering shallow or dangerous waters, is the agency’s largest annual fundraising event, raising money to support essential FCS programs and services, including adult protective services, home care, homeless prevention services and childhood literacy and nutrition programs .

“Much like Leading Lights, FCS helps the most vulnerable in our community navigate daily challenges and live their lives safely with as much dignity and independence as possible,” says FCS CEO Delly Beekman. “Similarly, the individuals we are honoring this year are also Leading Lights in the community. They have been instrumental in advancing the agency’s Mission and Vision.”

maryann-squareMary Ann McDonald has been a dedicated volunteer and faithful friend of FCS for nearly 20 years. Elected to the FCS Board of Directors in 1988, she served in a number of leadership positions including two terms as Treasurer and one as Board President from 2008 to 2009. For Mary Ann, assuming leadership of the Board during the worst national financial crisis since the Great Depression proved an extraordinary challenge, but under her leadership, the agency worked to reduce expenses and shore up resources to survive the economic downturn. Mary Ann’s tenure as President also included the agency’s Centennial Celebration in 2009, which she credits with renewing important connections and reaffirming the agency’s reputation as a trusted and reliable resource in the community.

bruce-squareBruce Thompson and Thompson Memorial Home have built a reputation as a caring, compassionate resource for area families in their hour of greatest need. For Bruce, service to others is in his blood, and FCS is part of that DNA. Born and raised in Monmouth County, Bruce’s earliest memories involve sitting at his grandmother, Mary Smith’s table wrapping favors for the FCS Auxiliary’s annual spring and summer fundraisers. Bruce’s mother, FCS President Emeritus BJ Thompson, went on to be a member of the FCS Board of Directors for nearly 50 years. Today Bruce, who serves on the agency’s Corporate Advisory Council, is a leading philanthropic supporter of the agency, providing funding for essential programs and services that address critical needs in the community.

gloria-nilson-lg-squareAn iconic name in New Jersey real estate for more than 30 years, Gloria Nilson established her company, Gloria Nilson Realtors, in 1977 and grew it into a multi-million dollar business. A steadfast entrepreneur, Gloria applies similar passion and commitment to community service. For more than a quarter century, she has been a leading benefactor of FCS, generously contributing to the agency’s Annual Fund and lending her support to FCS fundraising events including Paint it Forward and the annual FCS Leading Lights Gala. Gloria is also a founding member of the FCS Corporate Advisory Board, providing expertise and advocacy on behalf of the agency in the community. Her unmatched generosity and relentless commitment to service extend to other organizations including the Monmouth Museum, the Monmouth Medical Center Foundation, the Monmouth Conservation Foundation and Monmouth University. Her contributions have enabled FCS to meet and expand its Mission and Vision to protect and preserve the dignity and independence of all people in need.

We are grateful to all of our honorees for their continued philanthropic support of the agency and hope you will join us in recognizing them on Saturday, October 29th. The 2016 Gala committee, led by honorary co-chairs Paul and Judy Stach, has planned an enjoyable evening, including cocktails, dinner and dancing to the music of Tim McCloone and The Shirleys, a live auction featuring a variety of experience packages, and a silent auction including original oil paintings, fine jewelry, catered dinner parties and other luxury items. For more information, contact FCS Development Director Diane Gribbin at dgribbin@fcsmonmouth.org