Bonnie Brae’s 32nd Annual Tartan Ball: A Huge Success!
Bonnie Brae’s 32nd Annual Tartan Ball: A Huge Success!What do drummers, a pair of 14 karat rose gold and diamond hoops earrings, and a red bandanna have in common? All were features of Bonnie Brae’s 32nd Annual Tartan Ball, one of the top grossing Balls in history. More than 250 guests attended our event and “Returned to the Era of the Rat Pack,” raising nearly $40,000 through the live auction alone. This year’s ball was held at the Park Savoy in Florham Park, and guests were able to dance the night away thanks to the musical stylings of The Bob Hardwick Sound. The evening began with an escort into the Ballroom by the Bonnie Brae Knights Drummers, and guests were greeted by tuxedo-clad Bonnie Brae Ambassadors. There were several raffle opportunities, including a chance to win a pair of 14 karat rose gold and diamond hoop earrings generously donated by Simms Jewelers of Bedminster. The Ball was no stranger to sponsors, with the Bob Hardwick Sound sponsored by the Far Hills Race Meeting Association and the Rat Pack Platinum sponsored by Robert and Mary Courtemanche. One of the most exciting portions of the evening came when Ted Osborne, one of Bonnie Brae’s Trustees, shared the plans to build a new family center and cottage as well as the progress made so far. The Family Resource Center will provide a special place for young men to be received into the Bonnie Brae community with the utmost compassion, providing the space necessary to educate not just Bonnie Brae families but also those from the surrounding communities on the challenges that so many face. The Cottage will house 12 boys in individual rooms and feature multiple porches and other spaces where healing can be maximized. These additions will advance Bonnie Brae’s vision to touch even more lives and remain New Jersey’s go-to place for youth and families who experience some of the most challenging circumstances. $1 million of the $6 million price tag has been raised through the Advanced Leadership phase, and the “Today and Tomorrow” capital campaign steering committee is energized to raise more this year. Events like the Tartan Ball inspire valuable education, connections and donations. The Ball also honored Lou and Diane DiGiovanni, who have served Bonnie Brae with their time, support, and even Diane’s realty skills. Lou served as Board President for six years, guiding Bonnie Brae through their 100th anniversary. The DiGiovannis were presented with the prestigious award in honor of the late Welles Remy Crowther, who selflessly gave his own life saving the lives of others during the tragic events of 9/11, earning himself the title of “The Man in the Red Bandanna.” It is the DiGiovannis spirit of service to others, specifically their initiative and dedication to children in need that made them more than deserving of the award. Lou wants the youth of Bonnie Brae to succeed and learn the value that service to others provides. In honor of the DiGiovannis, guests were invited to participate in the “Text to Donate” drive benefitting Bonnie Brae’s Work Experience Program. The effort raised $7,500 to provide soft skills assessments and tangible certifications for more than 100 boys! One of the evening’s most poignant moments came from Bonnie Brae alumnus Elijah. He and his mom Christina shared their story, and Elijah dedicated a poem to the DiGiovannis. The poem’s ending echoed the mission of Bonnie Brae, saying:
We are a glimpse of light in their darkness
We create new hearts for those who are heartless—
We make a new name for ourselves and others.
As Brae Builders we are brothers.The event was successful not just for its incredible fundraising, but also for the chance it gave others to hear Elijah’s story, to honor the DiGiovannis, and to learn about Bonnie Brae’s dream to offer more for youth and families. If you want to see more pictures from the Tartan Ball, check out our Facebook HERE!