years, a handful of local foundations have raised millions of dollars
for the improvement of community services. Their main fundraisers are
themed balls - black tie extravaganzas with great live bands, phenomenal
food, incredible auction items, and memorable moments of good fun. Let
me introduce you to just a few of the many who will donate their time,
energy, ingenuity, and finances to these worthwhile causes.
Calvert Memorial Hospital's Harvest Ball is in its 22nd year. In 2009,
the ball raised over $132,000 from 77 sponsors and 472 ball attendees.
The funds were earmarked for a new state-of-the-art breast care center
that is now open. Kasha Sweeney, administrative chair of the Center for
Breast Care, says, "The Center is the first of its kind in Southern
Maryland. [It] provide[s] coordinated care from outreach and screening
to diagnosis, treatment, and survivorship." The hospital's president and
CEO, Jim Xinis, explains that the hospital partnered with Johns Hopkins
to bring experts in breast imaging to the Center.
In November 2010, the theme was the "Mad Hatter Ball." Funds raised were
earmarked for the purchase of high-definition endoscopic cameras for the
new Endoscopy Center under construction. Diane Tarhan, Calvert Memorial
Hospital's foundation supervisor, says, "New for the 2010 Mad Hatter's
Ball, we had an online auction for a one-week cruise in the Caribbean
for six from one of our sponsors, Curtis Investment Group. Calvert
Memorial is a great hospital, and we're very excited and proud at the
foundation to have been able to help the hospital do what they do for
For more information about the Harvest Ball, call 410-535-8178, or visit
the hospital website at www.calverthospital.org and click on, "Our
The United Way of Calvert has hosted a Mardi Gras for the past 11 years.
The next event will be March 5, 2011, at the Show Place Arena in Upper
Marlboro, Md. It's a black tie- or costume-required event that will kick
off with a cocktail reception and include a Bourbon Street silent
auction, live New Orleans-style performers, authentic cuisine, and Cajun
music by the Tom Principato Band.
A King and Queen of Mardi Gras are crowned based on the funds they
raise. For 2011, Queen candidates are: Jan Lomax, vice president of
public relations for PNC Bank of Southern Maryland; Charleen Obal, owner
of Saphron Restaurant in Prince Frederick; and Amber Yurko, Nationwide
Insurance of Prince Frederick employee. King candidates are: Everard
Johnson, owner of Brothers Johnson Septic Service; Brian Mayer, mortgage
banker with Envoy Mortgage in Prince Frederick; and John McGuffin,
Huntingtown High School teacher and coach. The candidates develop their
own creative fundraising strategies: some host dinners, others seek
sponsorship from their employers, and still others use social media like
Facebook and Twitter to solicit contributions.
With money raised from the Mardi Gras, the United Way funds programs
that support the critical needs of the community. It helps fund foster
youth development, provides shelter for the homeless and food for the
hungry, assists people with disabilities, and helps those in need of
health care. United Way has a tremendous impact on the lives of the
residents of Calvert County and beyond.
For information on how to sponsor a candidate, visit
www.unitedwaymardigras.com. For ticket information, call 410-286-0100 or
The Hospice Festival of Trees Ball is held on the Saturday after
Thanksgiving. In its 23rd year, the event raises funds to provide
support and comfort to terminally ill patients in Charles County by way
of prescription drugs, medical supplies, nurses, and equipment. In 2009,
the event raised approximately $73,000.
Bonnie Grier of Baldus Real Estate, prior longtime board member and now
chair of the Tree Sales Committee, says, "It's a wonderful organization
because it makes a tough experience easier by educating patients and
their families by letting them know what to expect, and they stay with
you every step of that journey."
The ball's entertainment includes a casino, silent auction, live
auction, and live band. Beautifully decorated trees, sold after the
event to support the program, create a festive and memorable ambience.
Leigh Ann Keller of Travel Leaders, chair of the Tree Decorators, says,
"The Festival of Trees is my kickoff to the holiday season. The trees
are beautiful, the band is always great, and I'm happy to be a part of
such a hard working charity board that makes raising money a bit of fun
and a little out of the ordinary."
The ball is just part of a weekend-long Festival of Trees. For more
information, call 301-934-1268 and 301-609-TREE, or e-mail email@example.com
The St. Mary's Hospital Foundation Ball is held the Friday before
Thanksgiving. The 2010 event was set in sultry New Orleans and called,
"Unmask the Night." In 2009, the gala profited $183,728 from 77
sponsors. The funds raised in 2010 will go towards scholarships in
health care in the fields of radiology, mammography, and therapy.
Holly Meyers, director of marketing and public relations for the
foundation, explains, "With the baby boomers closer to retirement, we
are trying to prevent a shortage of quality health care workers in our
community. Our latest push has been to increase education for our RNs"
by encouraging them to obtain a Bachelor of Science in Nursing. She
reports that ninety students have gone through the program so far.
One of those students was Kristine Overs, who is now working in the
hospital's medical surgical telemetry department. She received a
scholarship for nursing and attended the College of Southern Maryland
before transferring to Salisbury University to get her bachelor's
degree. "The foundation paid for all five years. I think it's very
helpful for people to get help for an education in a profession they
find rewarding. It helps the community by providing a better hospital
For more information, contact 301-475-6455 or visit the foundation's
website at www.smhwecare.com/foundation.html.
On April 9, 2011, Civista Health Foundation will hold its 20th and final
Mardi Gras black tie event. Usually a fall tradition, the extravaganza
will be held in the spring at Regency Furniture Stadium, and will
showcase all 100+ past King Rexes and Queen Mystiques. The sunset event
will feature the music of Highway Star, who has played the event each
Susan Vogel, executive director of the foundation, says, "The ball has
been a great chapter of the bigger picture for fundraising." In 2010,
over 400 donors and 700 contributors raised $146,000. The funds were
earmarked for the relocation and expansion of an infusion center. Vogel
adds, "In 2011, the foundation is focused on orthopedic instrumentation,
updating and expanding surgical services, and improving visitor and
family comforts in patient rooms." Gary Simpson, chairman of the
foundation, explains that a new fundraising effort will be a partnership
with the Southern Maryland Blue Crabs. Simpson, who was crowned King Rex
in 2001, recalls, "Raising money for the hospital was one of the most
rewarding things I've ever done. I remember getting money from people
whose lives I touched twenty years ago. I received all denominations of
money, that's how the community can give back. I'm pretty sure my
contribution went into the maternity ward!"
For more information, contact 301-609-4132,