More than 170 friends, supporters and guests of FCS turned out to celebrate 109 years of service to the community Saturday, October 27th, at the Navesink Country Club, and recognize three remarkable individuals for their commitment to the agency’s Mission and Vision. The 2018 Leading Lights Gala this year honored former FCS Board member Kathy Goullet, former FCS Golf Classic chair Ron Gillaspie and Monmouth Park Racetrack.
“A critical component to the success of this agency – or of any nonprofit organization – is its people,” FCS CEO Delly Beekman told the gathering. “Especially those whose commitment to philanthropy and volunteerism surpasses all expectation. Tonight we are here to honor those who have done exactly that.”
FCS Board chair Deborah Zilai presented the agency’s Leading Lights Community Service Award to Monmouth Park Racetrack for its significant contribution to the agency’s signature program, Operation Sleighbells. In 2015, when the agency was faced with finding a new home for its annual holiday giving program or significantly curtailing the number of children it serves, Monmouth Park Racetrack stepped in. Since then, the track has donated more than 5,000 square feet of heated, lighted space for FCS’s use, enabling FCS and the community to provide holiday joy to nearly 6,000 area children and their families.
This year’s Leading Lights Lifetime Service Award was presented to two Monmouth Beach residents, former FCS Board member Kathy Goullet for a very full and productive 14 years of service, and former FCS Golf Classic chair Ron Gillaspie for helping raise, on average, $40,000 in support annually for agency programs and services through the golf fundraiser.
A highly anticipated evening, the 2018 Gala was co-chaired by FCS Board members Tiffany Senft and Madonna Goss Robinson and supported by Gala Committee members Peter Albertelli, Melanie Besculides, Valerie Brett, Mara Browndorf, Nancy Del Priore, Drew Eitner, Michele Faustini, Janet Garley, Kathy Gillaspie, Karen Gibbens, Jill Gemmel, Megan Gula, Taphy Harscar, Diane Hayes, Dolores Klein, Ginny Moore, Pam Morris, Debbie O’Donoghue, Karen Puma, Janet Ray, Joanne Sadowsky, and Carrie Tenuto.
The ballroom was set in green and gold with beautiful white roses and fresh lemon balm centerpieces. The bar featured specialized cocktails and the evening’s entertainment, New Life Crisis, played a selection of hits while guests perused a silent auction featuring original artwork, collectible wine, fine jewelry and other specialty items. The Live Auction, hosted by Ms. Senft, featured one-of-a-kind experiences including an in-home dinner prepared by NCC Executive Chef Bill Tuite and a backyard bash featuring music by Jake’s Rockin Country Band, a pig roast and raw bar.
Generous gifts were received from Compass Rose and Entertainment Sponsor Woodhaven Lumber; Navigator Sponsors Torcon Inc. and Charles Komar; Lighthouse Sponsors Madonna Goss Robinson, Gloria Nilson & Co. Real Estate, Kathy Goullet and Bill Burke; Anchor Sponsors Monmouth Medical Center, Del Negro & Senft Eye Associates, and John and Deborah O‘Donoghue; Cartographer Sponsors Two River Community Bank, New Jersey Natural Gas, and Dolores Klein; and Seamanship Sponsors Michael and Nancy Del Priore, and Tom and Nancy Gravina.
The celebratory event is expected to raise approximately $100,000 to support critical community-based programs and services, including intervention services for abused, neglected and exploited adults; home health and respite care for families caring for frail, disabled and aging loved ones; and financial management services for those at risk of homelessness. Visit our photo gallery for additional photos of our 2018 Leading Lights Gala.