Assistance League of Phoenix held its 45th Annual Celebration of Caring fundraising gala to benefit the organization’s many philanthropic programs operating throughout the Phoenix area. The April 2 event themed “Under the Tuscan Sun” was held at the Omni Scottsdale Resort and Spa at Montelucia. Shelly McTee, event chairman, and her committee delighted guests with a Tuscan-themed setting and an array of live and silent auction items.
Brenda Sperduti, CEO and executive director of Assistance League of Phoenix, presented crystal Excellence in Philanthropy awards to Ronda Forsyth, president of HonorHealth, and Paul J. Luna, president and CEO of Helios Education Foundation.
During the event, Forsyth and Luna each announced $30,000 grants to be given on behalf of their respective organizations to benefit Operation School Bell during its 30th anniversary year.
The Operation School Bell program has provided new school uniform packages to children at Title 1 schools in the Phoenix area since 1986. By the end of the 2015-2016 school year, as many as 92,000 children will have benefited by receiving new school uniforms and health supplies from ALP with a retail value exceeding $1.8 million.
The goals for the 30th Anniversary of Operation School Bell campaign are to raise funds for clothing and also to raise awareness of the program’s impact on the families it serves. “We believe, regardless of their family background, the zip code they live in, or their socioeconomic status, students should have the opportunity to be successful in school. Operation School Bell really puts into practice everything that’s important to help support these students,” says Luna.
“What we are really doing is helping children learn,” emphasizes Forsyth. “Through improved self-esteem, not having the barrier of clothes that are inappropriate or don’t fit, these children are going to be better students. To me, that’s what this program is all about.”
By the end of hte Dress-A-Child Challenge, another $80,000 had been pledged by audience members, many of whom were moved by testimony given by Paideia Academy 6th grade student Amanda Pescador and the school’s founder, Dr. Brian Winsor. Donations made to Dress-A-Child both at the event and in advance will be matched by BHHS Legacy Foundation.
The evening raised more than $500,000.
PHOTOS COURTESY ASSISTANCE LEAGUE OF PHOENIX