Records were broken on March 9, as Jewish Family & Children’s Service of Greater Mercer County welcomed nearly 500 community members and local business representatives to its largest annual fund-raiser.
The “Magical Evening Gala” at the Princeton Hyatt Regency — the best-attended in the 15 years that JFCS has held the event — featured dinner, dancing, and networking and included tributes to Corporate Honoree Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital Hamilton and its president and CEO, Anthony “Skip” Cimino and Community Honorees Jay Moorin and Elaine Rubin Moorin.
The gala raised more than $135,000 for JFCS.
Based in Princeton, JFCS provides a range of nonsectarian social services and programs, including therapy, information and referral, support, education, and advocacy, throughout Mercer County and Lower Bucks County, Pa.
“In the faces of our constituents we see the need, sadness, and distress that are at the heart of the work we do at JFCS,” said JFCS executive director Linda Meisel in her welcoming remarks. “But theirs are also the faces of resilience and hope. This magical evening is a time to celebrate the spirit of partnership and collaboration.”
In an interview, Meisel said that the gala “is the most community-oriented event we have each year and one that really brings everyone together. It’s a great evening with wonderful honorees, and we’re also thrilled to have achieved our highest attendance ever in the 15 years since we’ve been holding it.”
Fueled by a recent grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, JFCS and Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital Hamilton are partnering to implement the Mercer Care Transitions Program. The initiative aims to decrease patient readmissions to the hospital within 30 days of discharge.
Cimino told NJJN that he was “honored and humbled to be recognized by an organization that has given so much back to the community for over 75 years. The ability to link together the work that both JFCS and Robert Wood Johnson do only bodes well for the entire region.”
Elaine Rubin Moorin, a past JFCS president and longtime board member, said she and her husband are “deeply touched to be recognized as this year’s Community Honorees.” The Princeton couple has a decades-long affiliation with JFCS and other community-based organizations. “But the capacity and power of JFCS to help children and seniors is the ultimate gift, and their work is conducted with purpose, thoughtfulness, and transparency,” she said.
Jay Moorin agreed. “We’re thrilled to be here based on the good work JFCS does, and we’re delighted to support them in this important annual fund-raiser,” he said.
The evening’s program included an appearance by New Jersey state Sen. Linda Greenstein (D-Dist. 14), a longtime family and children’s advocate, who issued congratulatory proclamations to Cimino and the Moorins.
JFCS said that the night’s silent auction was also the largest in gala history. Additional fund-raising included the sale of $50 “Magic Boxes” containing gift certificates valued at up to $95 as well as raffle tickets toward gift cards and the grand prize of $1,200, a portion of which the winner donated to the JFCS Kosher Food Pantry. In keeping with the gala theme, a magician entertained guests at their tables.
Katherine Rawley, vice president/branch manager of First Bank in Lawrenceville, said the bank was again happy to be a sponsor of the annual gathering. “We’re a local bank and we love to support our community,” she said. “JFCS does great work and this is a terrific event.”
“In light of the current economy, the ability of this event to draw so many people who are so appreciative and supportive of what JFCS does is extremely rewarding,” said JFCS president Joyce Kalstein. “I’m so proud and honored to be a part of it.”
“The level of support we received and the interest in the gala from both current and new supporters exceeded our initial expectations,” said JFCS coordinator of development Natalie Harrington. “Through the power of partnership with community members and major institutions in the county, we can truly create strength, collaboration, and magic for people in need.”