2015 Gala Wrap Up
“Simply amazing,” “When Ivan sang Bring him Home, my Mom and I were both crying,” “Please do this next year, my company will definitely be in for a table,” Ivan and his performer friends were very impressive, inspirational,” and “My wife and I attend about 10 events a year, this is by far the best and most well run event I have ever been to, congratulations!”
These were just a few of the testimonials from several of the 430 guests at the 2nd Annual Family Guidance Spring Gala.
Rick Dayton, anchor on KDKA news, commented and this years Gala master of ceremonies, commented “to get this level of talent to perform for a non- profit event in Pittsburgh is exciting and unusual.”
The Perfect Location
The trendy downtown Fairmont again hosted the FG Gala on March 20th. From the moment you enter the hotel you are impressed with their modern, sleek look including the three-story white marble staircase. Gala guests were escorted to the grand ballroom which was tastefully decorated by the decoration committee headed my Karen Dionise. They used beautiful spring flowers in yellow and magenta and candle lit lanterns. Beautiful.
In a special pre-gala VIP event, former Fox News reporter and producer Katie Knox interviewed Gala performers Lexi Rhoades, Kate Loprest and of course Ivan Rutherford. Read more about Ivan at TribLive.com in this probing article by Fanfare columnist Kate Benz.
The Program Begins
Brian Johansson, President and CEO of Family Guidance, opened the evening by welcoming guests and recognizing several, including Judge Cohill – one of the founders of Family Guidance. Reverend Tinor of Mt. Ararat Bapist Church and longtime partner of FG opened in prayer.
After a delicious dinner, Act I began with Kate Loprest singing “Don’t Rain on My Parade” from the musical “Funny Girl”. Lexi and Kate gave an inspirational rendition of “For Good” from the musical “Wicked.” But when Ivan sang “Who Will Love this Child” from “the Hunchback of Notre Dame,” he received a standing ovation. The song tells the story of a deformed baby being abandoned on the steps of the cathedral and the priest asking “Who will love this child.” So meaningful to what Family Guidance strives to do each day.
Act II began with the premier of “Through the Eyes of a Child” a new film produced by PMI productions. This film tells the story of the three facets of Family Guidance, mentoring, camping and family, as told by children. Many thanks to David Case and his team for a very generous and inspirational story telling.
Chairman of the board Jim Dionise addressed the crowd explaining the future plans of a lodge at Promise Camp to accommodate the recent growth. Jim told three stories of children we work with to illustrate the challenges they face and the hope the work we do provides.
Kim Tillotson-Fleming was honored with the Jim Leckie Award for her years of philanthropy and service to Pittsburgh.
Act III provided more Broadway caliber entertainment with songs like “Children Will Listen” done as a trio by the performers, and “Impossible Dream.” A long standing ovation brought an encore number to calm the crowd.
Ed Gill, our Gala committee chair, closed the evening with a heartfelt thank you for an outstanding event with over 40 sponsors that raised just under $200,000 with gifts still coming in days later.
We also want to give a big shout out to James Knox Photography, Shane Austin Photography, Annie O’Niell Photography, Wallace Floral, and accompanist Jeremy Dunn.
We are Grateful and Blessed
We are truly blessed to have Ivan and friends, the Fairmont, and many, many old and “NEW” friends.
Thanks to all who made this event a TOTAL success.