Honoring our Leading Lights

img_0162Nearly 200 family, friends and supporters raised a glass to FCS at the agency’s 2016 Leading Lights Gala, Saturday, October 29th, raising more than $100,000 to support critical community-based programs and services. The celebratory event, which took place at the beautiful Navesink Country Club in Middletown, marked the 107th anniversary of the agency and served as the perfect backdrop to honor three individuals for their outstanding contributions to FCS: Gloria Nilson, Bruce Thompson and Thompson Memorial Home of Red Bank, and former FCS Board President Mary Ann McDonald.

l-r: FCS CEO Delly Beekman, Honorees Mary Ann McDonald, Bruce Thompson and Gloria Nilson, and Honorary Gala chairs Judy & Paul Stach

“Our three Leading Lights demonstrate the very best in our community,” FCS Board Chair Paul Stach said as he welcomed guests at the Gala.  “They are among those exceptional individuals willing to commit their time and resources to improve the lives of others. We are honored to be the recipient of their longstanding generosity and kindness.”

FCS CEO Delly Beekman thanked the honorees for holding up FCS’s Mission to provide compassionate care, education and intervention to people during challenging times. “Mother Theresa said the greatest poverty is that of being unwanted, unloved and uncared for,” Delly told the gathering. “Your support of FCS helps us ensure that our clients are treated with the dignity and respect as they work to overcome tremendous obstacles in their quest to live independently.”

The club’s ballroom was decorated in shades of shimmering blue and white accented by beautiful floral arrangements created by Jenna Morris and Virginia Boileau. As Gala guests img_0054mingled over cocktails and appetizers listening to the musical entertainment of Tim McCloone and the Shirleys, they browsed the dozens of Silent Auction items available for bid including catered dinners, collectible wines, fashion, jewelry, spa treatments and sports tickets.  A formal sit-down dinner was followed by a spirited Live Auction, led by Auctioneer Tiffany Senft, featuring several luxury experience packages including a Navesink River sunset cruise for 12, a weekend of golf for four in the Florida Keys and a Backyard Barbeque Bash for 50 complete with oyster shucking and hamburger slider bars. The highlight of the Live Auction was a short video produced by Tiffany’s company, Tone Farmer, featuring stories of four clients served by the agency’s CERF (Client Emergency Relief Fund), a fund established in the wake of Hurricane Sandy to address client emergency needs not covered by other services.

Members of the 2016 Leading Lights Gala Committee

The 2016 Gala was co-chaired by Paul and Judy Stach and supported by Gala Committee members Ursula Atkinson, Virginia Boileau, Mara Browndorf, Stephanie Bush, Jill Gemmel, Karen Gibbens, Kathy Goullet, Taphy Harcsar, Diane Hayes, Mary Ann McDonald, Jenna Morris, Liz Moss, Mary Debbie O’Donoghue, Jane O’Hare, Carrie Page, Janet Ray, Dena Reger, Madonna Robinson, Janet Rotchford, Tiffany Senft, Susan Sorokolit, Peeka Tildesley, BJ Thompson and Lee Weber.

Additional members of the Leading Lights Gala Committee
Additional members of the 2016 Leading Lights Gala Committee

Generous gifts were received from Compass Rose Sponsor The Mel Karmazin Foundation; Guiding Light Sponsors Gloria Nilson and Woodhaven Lumber; Navigator Sponsors Frank & Brenda Mergenthaler and Monmouth Medical Center & Foundation; Lighthouse Sponsors John and Debbie O’Donoghue; and Anchor Sponsors Del Negro & Senft Eye Associates, Tom & Mary Ann McDonald and Bruce Thompson and Thompson Memorial Home. A complete list of our Gala sponsors can be found in the 2016 Leading Lights Gala Ad Journal.

We invite you to enjoy more photos from our 2016 Leading Lights Gala and please mark you calendar for next year Saturday, October 14th for our 2017 Leading Lights Gala.