MONROE TOWNSHIP, NJ
Make-A-Wish New Jersey hosted its annual Gala at the Samuel & Josephine Plumeri Wishing Place in Monroe Township on Thursday, June 8th. The signature event is the organization’s largest fundraising event of the year, raising funds in support of their mission to grant the wishes of children with life-threatening medical conditions to enrich the human experience with hope, strength and joy.
Over 700 guests visited the Samuel & Josephine Plumeri Wishing place, a whimsical castle Make-A-Wish New Jersey calls home, for an evening of cocktails, dinner, auction excitement, a powerful program filled with inspirational wish testimonials, and an electrifying performance by Rock & Roll Hall of Famer Max Weinberg of the E-Street Band and his friends. The 2017 Make-A-Wish New Jersey Gala raised over $1.1 million, which will grant over 100 wishes to New Jersey children with life-threatening medical conditions in the months ahead.
The evening also celebrated the charitable efforts of CareOne’s CEO Daniel Straus and Executive Vice President Elizabeth Straus, as the joint recipients of the Make-A-Wish New Jersey 2017 Humanitarian of the Year award, and the entire CareOne organization was recognized as Corporation of the Year. This recognition came as a result of CareOne’s 200 Wishes fundraiser that took place at the Prudential Center in February 2017. Through their hard work, diligence and commitment to Make-A-Wish New Jersey, the Strauses and CareOne raised $1.3 million in support of the children’s charity at the 200 Wishes event and helped grant a significant number of wishes for children with life-threatening medical conditions throughout New Jersey.
“CareOne is hopefully an example to others of what it means to be involved in business and community. You have to be involved in both to be successful,” commented Daniel Straus, CEO of CareOne.
“I don't think you can care for people without caring for each other. We want to be a place where everyone knows we're compassionate and we really want to care for those in need,” added Elizabeth Straus, CareOne Executive Vice President.
The evening’s program also included an inspiring address from Make-A-Wish New Jersey President & CEO Tom Weatherall, as well as testimonials and performances by local New Jersey wish kids who have recently experienced the power of a wish. Ryland, age 11, whose wish was to report the weather live on the Weather Channel, gave a forecast for the evening to an impressed crowd, and Ava, 16, whose wish was for a cello, performed a classical piece and received a standing ovation. Both Ava’s and Ryland’s wishes were granted this year by Make-A-Wish New Jersey, representing over 500 wish children that will experience the power of a wish in 2017.
“Thursday evening was about three things,” shared Tom Weatherall, President & Chief Executive Officer for Make-A-Wish New Jersey. “First, it was about thanking friends like CareOne and Daniel & Lizzy Straus for their extraordinary charitable efforts on our behalf earlier this year. Second, this is our signature fundraising event of the year, raising the vital funds needed for our upcoming busiest season, the summertime, when we will grant 50 percent of an entire year of wishes. And thirdly, it was a celebration of our seemingly simple, but oh-so-powerful mission.”
For more information about Make-A-Wish New Jersey, visit nj.wish.org or call 800-252-WISH.