Aspire of WNY Celebrates 75th Anniversary with a Swingin’ Good Time at Gala

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Diamonds, glitter, elegance, old world fashion, and over $100,000 raised to support individuals with developmental and intellectual disabilities at Aspire of WNY. Yes to all of this and more at the 75th Diamond Anniversary Gala for Aspire of WNY!

On November 3rd, 2022, Aspire of WNY was proud to host a 1940’s themed gala to celebrate 75 years of supporting individuals across the WNY community. Nearly three hundred guests flocked to the Admiral Room in the Marin building on downtown Buffalo’s beautiful and historic Seneca Street. Guests were greeted with custom décor, delicious food, and beverage stations. Saxman Slim serenaded the crowds and Swing Buffalo provided authentic swing dancing entertainment, bringing everyone out onto the dance floor. 

During the event, Aspire of WNY honored Harrison Phillips, formerly of the Buffalo Bills and founder of Harrison’s Playmakers, with the Man of Honor award, in recognition of his work with individuals with different abilities. Harrison was not able to attend in person, but sent along a message which was played via video to all of the guests. 

Renee Filip, Aspire of WNY’s President & CEO, hosted the evening, paying special tribute to Sherwood Moss as a special guest, the man for who’s cause Aspire of WNY was founded 75 years ago in 1947. Sherwood continues to receive services from Aspire of WNY to this day. 

Jack Walsh, Aspire of WNY’s Community Ambassador, took to the stage to auction off an assortment of fantastic prizes and packages. With auction paddles donated by Auctions International, everyone was able to join in the fun, bidding and raising thousands of dollars in support of Aspire of WNY. Special thanks to those who donated prize items including: The Praxiis Foundation, Jack Walsh, Reeds Jenss, Buffalo Holistic Center, Toshiba, Buffalo Bisons, Buffalo Bills, Buffalo Sabres, The New Era Cap Foundation, The Mansion on Delaware, the Aspire of WNY Foundation Board, and the Aspire of WNY Board.

Premiering at the gala, Aspire of WNY’s 75th Anniversary marketing video showcased the IMPACT made across the agency in a “day in the life” saga following individuals, services, Aspire of WNY team members, and leadership in both Erie and Chautauqua counties. Residents at group homes, children from the Center for Learning, community volunteers, and individuals in the workforce all made appearances to highlight how they are IMPACTED by Aspire of WNY and how they make an IMPACT in our community and the world. A special thanks to J. Fitzgerald marketing group and Dave Collins Productions for their assistance with putting the video together and highlighting the amazing IMPACT created at Aspire of WNY every day. 

After nearly a year of planning, the gala was a huge success in the eyes of Aspire of WNY, our guests, our donors, and sponsors. We’d like to acknowledge that none of this would be possible without sponsorship and partnership efforts from our supporters: 

  • Diamond Sponsor: Hover Networks
  • Ruby Sponsor: Accessium Group
  • Sapphire Sponsors: Keller Technology Group and Parkview Health Services
  • Table Sponsors: 
    • The Bonadio Group
    • Civello Family
    • Evergreen Health
    • Fortinet
    • Keybank/First Niagara Foundation
    • Mainline Information Systems
    • Mutual of America Financial Group
    • People Inc.
    • Rupp Baase Pfalzgraf Cunningham, LLC
  • Corporate Donors:
    • Adventmed, LLC
    • Catapult Executive Consulting
    • Ciminelli Family Foundation
    • Independent Health Association
    • J. Fitzgerald Group
    • Keybank/First Niagara Foundation
    • Moshides Financial group
    • Person Centered Services
    • Rich Family Foundation
    • Walsh Duffield Companies
  • Coat Room Sponsor: Colvin Cleaners
  • Family Members 

“We are blown away by the support and the recognition we’ve received from our WNY community in celebration of our 75th anniversary,” said Renee Filip. “With individuals and corporations putting investments and support into our nonprofit, we will be able to continue to provide innovative and transformative services to the individuals we support. I can’t express enough gratitude for our WNY community, our corporate sponsors and partners, family members, and the entire team at Aspire.”

Culminating with a champagne toast, the Aspire of WNY 75th anniversary gala went off without a hitch. So what’s next? Another 75 years of Aspire of WNY’s core mission: supporting children and adults with developmental and similar disabilities, helping them to live their lives to the fullest by providing individualized assistance based on personal choices.

Support Aspire of WNY’s mission by making your IMPACT today. All donations help create a better world for individuals with developmental disabilities: DONATE TODAY!