Nearly 400 guests were decked out in style among the "sunshine and butterflies" that swathed the Hartford Golf Club in a festive atmosphere Saturday night.
West Hartford community and business leaders enjoyed the always-elegant black tie Children's Charity Ball, a fundraiser for The Bridge Family Center that included a cocktail reception, sit-down dinner, and live and silent auctions.
For the twelfth year in a row, Scot Haney, Channel 3 Meteorologist and Co-Host of “Better CT,” entertained guests as emcee and auctioneer for the evening.
The live auction included a La Perla diamond necklace, a South African safari, a North Carolina golf week, a wine dinner for six at Max’s Oyster Bar, and much more. The West Hartford Fire Department once again donated a ride to school on one of their engines.
After raising their paddles time after time in an extreme show of generosity, many guests kicked off their shoes and spent the remainder of the evening dancing to live band Shaded Soul until midnight.
Ball organizer and Director of Community Services for The Bridge Family Center Judy Bierly said that this year's gala set a new fundraising record. Last year the event netted $218,000, and although this year's expenses have not yet been tabulated, Bierly expects to report a figure in excess of $220,000.
Cynthia Gutermann, along with her husband Peter Gutermann of UTC Propulsion & Aerospace Systems, served as Honorary Chairs for the 2013 Children’s Charity Ball.
"You are a ray of sunshine in the lives of many," Cynthia Gutermann told guests on Saturday night.
She told Patch that the Children's Charity Ball is such a successful fundraiser year after year "because of the incredible focused committee of 35 women who believe in the mission of The Bridge and are willing to work to improve the lives of children in West Hartford and the surrounding towns."
"Under Margaret Hann, our director, the most kind, creative and passionate people develop programs for families in crisis. Whether they're addressing bullying, anger issues, sexual abuse, or divorce – these are the people who are turning darkness to light for so many," said Gutermann.
She expressed her gratitude to the sponsors, many of which have pledged their support for years, for their generosity. Sponsorship this year exceeded $127,000 – also a record.
United Technologies, Pratt & Whitney, Otis, Robinson & Cole, Reid & Reige, ING, eBenefits Group Northeast, Debbie and Tom McInerney, Rockville Bank, and Stop & Shop were top level sponsors this year. The names of additional sponsors are listed on The Bridge's website.
"It was a huge, heart-warming success to have the support of so many and realize how many more children and families the Bridge will be able to assist in the coming year. We are so thankful for the support our sponsors and guests," said Gutermann.