Hephzibah’s 2017 Heart of Gold Ball, on Saturday, March 4, was an evening of gratitude and glowing tributes for Executive Director, Mary Anne Brown, as she received the Heart of Gold Award for outstanding commitment to Hephzibah over the past 40 years. Guests stood to applaud four times throughout the evening and helped raise a record-setting $400,000 to benefit the children and families served by Hephzibah – to whom Mary Anne has devoted her heart and her career.
Bridgeport Art Center’s lovely space was packed with more than 500 guests and twinkling with fairy lights on every table, as Mark Trinka, president of Hephzibah Children’s Trust and a former board member, spoke of Mary Anne’s accomplishments and the lasting impression she leaves on the hearts of those who have worked with her.
Senator Don Harmon issued a proclamation recognizing Mary Anne as a life-long champion of children’s needs, and thanking her on behalf of children and families in the state of Illinois.
Dan Farley, a former Group Home resident, presented Mary Anne with the Heart of Gold Award.
“She let me know that she was there for me, smoothing the path ahead and keeping a watchful eye,” Farley said. “Mary Anne was a beacon of light for me then, and she continues to be on my side.”
Farley recalled the comfort she gave him when he first came to Hephzibah at age 9, during a rough, uncertain stage in his childhood. Now 21 years later, Farley has graduated from University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign; he lives in Madison, WI, and works as a project manager for a prominent electronic medical records vendor.
Also attending the event were former Hephzibah Home residents, all of whom have stories of how Hephzibah and Mary Anne Brown helped them navigate a critical time in their lives.
An exciting live auction kicked off the evening, including Bulls seats on the floor and premium Hamilton tickets. Bidders vied for The Sky’s the Limit package – a private helicopter tour of the city, embarking from the recently opened Vertiport facility, which was paired with dinner and wine at Eden, a restaurant launched in November by Jodi Fyfe of Paramount Events.
Hephzibah supporters helped this year’s Heart of Gold Ball exceed expectations in every way – by donating to the auction, attending the event, and sharing heartfelt messages to honor Mary Anne.
Many made generous financial contributions to ensure Hephzibah’s legacy of providing hope and help to children.