The UMass Medical School and UMass Memorial Health Care communities came together at the second annual Winter Ball on Friday, Dec. 10, to raise funds in support of the two institutions’ combined mission. The gala was held at Mechanics Hall in Worcester, where 340 attendees opened their hearts to celebrate the impact the integrated academic health sciences center is making on the people of Central Massachusetts.
Money raised at the gala, Central Massachusetts’ largest volunteer-driven fundraiser, will be matched for a second year by the Wayne and Gladys Valley Foundation of California to support staffing and programs in the newly constructed Ambulatory Care Center. Part of the excitement during the auction was fueled by the generosity shown for the Fund-A-Need project, a Dedicated Breast CT (computed tomography) system, which is a state-of-the-art research tool that will allow researchers to conduct advanced clinical trials onsite with the hope of improving the diagnosis of breast cancer.
Michael Tsotsis, who co-chaired the event along with his wife, Dot, and David and Jodi Brunelle, is a Worcester native who raised his family and built a successful business in his hometown. “In my opinion, UMass Medical School and UMass Memorial Health Care are the leading organizations in our community,” said Tsotsis. “It is important for those who live here to support them.”
Generosity throughout the evening was widespread. At the corporate level, there were five $25,000 gold sponsors: Berry, a division of Suffolk Construction; Consigli Construction Foundation; Crothall Services Group; Morrison Management Specialists; and Public Consulting Group—one of which added $16,500 in winning auction bids. Individuals were equally generous, led by one donor whose winning bids totaled $19,000. And there was power in numbers, including 10 gifts at the $5,000 level, contributing to a total of more than $100,000 raised for the Fund-A-Need project alone.
In an evening of giving that far exceeded previous fundraising events, one of the highlights came when the individual with the winning $10,000 bid for a children’s Christmas tree covered with toys and gifts donated it on the spot to the UMass Memorial Children’s Medical Center, where it will brighten the day for young patients who are in the hospital on Christmas.
“That generous gesture, which took place early in the evening, set the tone for the entire event,” said David Brunelle, co-founder and managing director for the Worcester office of Investors Capital. “We are so grateful for the community’s recognition and support of all that UMass Medical School and UMass Memorial do, locally and globally.”
View the video produced for the Winter Ball that shows how the combined academic health sciences center is making a difference in the health of Central Massachusetts residents.