The annual Bridge Family Center’s Children’s Charity Ball will return to West Hartford on April 29, 2023.
By Ronni Newton
The planning committee for the 2023 Children’s Charity Ball has been hard at work for months, and the final details are now coming together for the Bridge Family Center’s 24th annual signature fundraiser, which will be held on Saturday, April 29 at Hartford Golf Club in West Hartford.
“We picked the theme ‘coming up roses’ because we are now on the other side of the pandemic,” said Doreen Tarascio, the Bridge’s director of development and communications. “And at the Bridge, we work with the thorns and the blooms,” she added, with the organization offering services that include prevention and crisis management as well as enrichment programs.
The Children’s Charity Ball was traditionally held in late January and the 2020 gala took place before the COVID-19 pandemic’s impact on fundraising events.
“We were only virtual for one year,” Tarascio said. When the event returned to an in-person format in 2022 it moved to late April. “Then people were happy and ready to party.” She anticipates that going forward the Children’s Charity Ball will continue to be a spring event.
Along with the change of season, the event transitioned from black tie optional to cocktail attire when it returned in 2022, and this year’s invitation indicates “cocktail attire suggested” as well.
“We expect 350 people at the Hartford Golf Club. They do a great job,” Tarascio said. The event will include a reception, silent and live auctions, dinner, and dancing. WFSB’s Scot Haney will return as emcee for the 22nd year.
Tarascio is one of 18 members of the planning committee for this year’s gala. Some of the committee members have been working on the event for all 24 years it’s been held, but there are also some new members this year.
Last year’s Children’s Charity Ball netted $240,000. “We need to raise a quarter of a million dollars to have all of the programs and services we offer,” Tarascio said. Roughly $140,000 of the proceeds will come from sponsorships, and the rest will be from ticket sales and the auctions.
The committee is still finalizing the auction, but said included items will be trips, concert tickets, an at-home dinner for eight prepared by chef and restaurateur Billy Grant, and cooking classes for a group at Cookshop Plus.
In the past year, the Bridge opened a new counseling center at 1021 Farmington Ave. in West Hartford, and the Mosaic Parenting Center just over the Hartford line at 664 Farmington Ave. “We couldn’t do that without the Ball,” Tarascio said.
Headquartered in West Hartford, the Bridge Family Center is “a comprehensive, regional nonprofit agency that provides a broad range of services for children and families throughout the Greater Hartford area. Founded in 1969, the Bridge offers a safe haven for children and families in crisis as well as positive, healthy intervention and prevention programs,” the website states. Services include mental health counseling, residential facilities, and a variety of programs for youth and families, many of which are school-based.
In addition the Ball, the Bridge’s budget is funded through private donations from individuals, foundations, corporations, and organizations; the Town of West Hartford; the State of Connecticut Departments of Children and Families (DCF) and Education; and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
To learn more about the Bridge and the Children’s Charity Ball, visit the website, or call 860-521-8035. Tickets are available online.
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