It was truly a night to remember as more than 330 area residents helped the Greater Joliet Area YMCA raise nearly $115,000 at our BE THE GOOD Gala on Saturday, October 12, at the Bolingbrook Golf Club. Guests enjoyed an elegant evening that included dinner, live entertainment and opportunities to bid on an assortment of silent and live auction items. Funds raised from the event will benefit the Y’s financial assistance program, helping to ensure that no one is turned away from the organization due to the inability to pay.
Since its inception, the Y’s signature fundraising event has raised more than $1 million to provide financial assistance for membership and programs that benefit families within our community. This year’s Gala celebrated charitable giving at the YMCA by showcasing the Y’s impact throughout the community and the generous donors who make our mission come to life each and every day.
During the “Raise the Paddle” portion of the evening, the YMCA’s mission was brought to life by videos showcasing YMCA stories of impact. Among the stories highlighted included that of Irene Aguilera and her daughters Leticia and Patricia. Aguilera, a Y employee and scholarship recipient, shared the positive influence Y programming has had on her family. Guests were then asked to “Raise the Paddle” in an auction-style format with individual contributions ranging from $50-$5,000. In all, this portion of the program raised a record-high $60,000 in support of the Y’s mission.
Local artist, educator, and community leader Erick Dorris served as the evening’s volunteer auctioneer. Eight exciting packages were sold during the live auction, including an elegant in-home dinner party, a festive holiday weekend in Chicago during the BMO Harris Bank Magnificent Mile Lights Festival, and a four-night stay at a cabin in Minocqua, Wisconsin, which was donated by Judy Avery. Among the other items was a two-week getaway to Hawaii donated by Y members Fred and Maria Bliznik that sold for $3,100- twice- making it the highest-grossing item of the night.
Before the live auction closed, Santa made a surprise appearance to promote a holiday package featuring a visit from Mr. and Mrs. Claus and a dinner donated by Nan’s Catering and Home Cooking.
Another highlight of the evening included a surprise toast to YMCA CEO Jim Watts, who celebrated his 38th year of service to the YMCA on October 12. Immediate Past Chairman of the Greater Joliet Area YMCA Board of Directors Marc Gorsch highlighted Watts’ contributions and thanked him and his family for his continued service to the YMCA.
This year’s Gala volunteer committee members included: Annie Gretencord, Karen Haas, MaryKay Hrdina, Mark Johnson, Maria Macris, Nick Macris, Alexa Midlock, Kristin Orban, Ryan Peterson, Karen Rouse and Barb Ziegner. Senior Development Director Julie Wilkinson and Annual Giving Manager Brittney Halliday provided staff leadership, with Volunteer and Development Operations Director Dori Fugate playing a key supporting role.
ENSURES A BRIGHTER FUTURE
Hourglass Wealth Management, Katie Millar and Larry Loethen Jr
BELIEVES IN POTENTIAL
Charles Vincent George Architects
D’Arcy Buick GMC
Edward Jones Offices of Ryan Peterson, Mary Kay Hrdina, Ed Dollinger, Mike Wright, Jim Feeney, Mark Karner, Matt Schimanski, and Adam Underhill
First Midwest Bank
Illinois Credit Union System
Midland States Bank
Morris Hospital and Healthcare Centers
Plainfield Area Chamber of Commerce
Heartland Equipment LLC
L. DeGeus & Associates, Inc.
CARES ABOUT COMMUNITY
Hometown National Bank
Rathbun, Cservenyak & Kozol, LLC
MAKES AN IMPACT
Law Offices of John F. Argoudelis, LLC
NuMark Credit Union
REMAX Ultimate Professionals Phillip Lawrence
Social Vid Network
Grundy County Chamber
Morris Herald News
New Lenox Chamber
The Herald News
The 2020 BE THE GOOD Gala will be held on Saturday, October 24. For more information or to make a tax-deductible donation to the YMCA, please visit www.jolietymca.org or call (815) 729-9638.