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Heartfelt & Hilarious: JCHE’s 2017 Gala

Posted: October 17, 2017

Thank you to everyone who attended JCHE’s 2017 “Independent.Together.” Gala and made it such a spectacular success!  

We are humbled and enormously grateful for the support and generosity of our donors, sponsors, table hosts, ticket purchasers and bidders, who helped us raise over a HALF A MILLION dollars towards programs and services that enrich the lives of our residents.

The evening opened with a cocktail hour during which guests got to chat with JCHE residents Marv, Jean, Phyllis and Cynthia. Their moving stories illustrated the “Independent” theme of the evening, and reinforced just how critical affordable, supportive housing is to the wellbeing of our nation’s seniors.

Meanwhile, to showcase the Gala’s “Together” theme, guests were treated to performances by our residents' Chinese Dance Troupe, a resident singing group, and a group of resident fitness enthusiasts.

The evening continued in the Grand Ballroom, and after opening remarks by Gala Co-chair Lynne Elfland and dinner, President and CEO Amy Schectman joined Gala co-chair Elizabeth Kass to pay a deeply moving in memorium tribute to Elizabeth’s mother Helen Kass (1933-2016).

An influential community leader and a JCHE board member for over 30 years, Helen Kass was a genuinely beloved figure.

“Helen saw our housing as the platform for supporting independence, together,” Amy explained. “She argued, and then helped make happen, that older adults deserved to be honored for their contributions to society and understood as having much growth and development ahead.” 

“My mother loved JCHE,” recalled Elizabeth. “She loved its commitment to seeing each person as an individual, a full person. She loved the organization’s values, such as opening its doors, hearts and minds to everyone in need.”

“Nothing would make Helen Kass happier than to see us raise a lot of money in this room for JCHE tonight,” added auctioneer Scott Bernstein – an observation that received enthusiastic applause – as he led the capacity room through bidding on Celtics seats, a unique Legal Seafoods dining experience for 12, and an amazing VIP Patriots package donated by Dan and Wendy Kraft. The Mitzvah Auction followed and was hugely successful, raising over $80,000.

But of course, the highlight of the night was Roz Chast, the award-winning New Yorker cartoonist and author of Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant? and Going Into Town: A Love Letter to New York.

Introducing Roz Chast, Wendy Kraft—our third Co-Chair and a renowned philanthropic force in Massachusetts—tapped into her personal experience with parents who live at Shillman, noting that “JCHE has allowed me, along with my sister Sheryl, and my brother Jeff, to navigate through these difficult times knowing that our parents are safe, they’re living well and aging well.”

When Roz finally took the stage, she made our guests erupt with laughter with her trademark wit and a slideshow of some of her most memorable cartoons.

Both hilarious and poignant, Roz touched on her experience coping with her aging parents as they shifted from independence to dependence, shining a light on the importance of our work.

Once the boisterous laughter died down, the “cartoon queen” sat down with Amy for a brief chat on the importance of affordable housing. At the end of the evening, Roz did a book signing for our guests.

Once again, thank you for joining us for this marvelous evening and thank you for supporting JCHE’s vision: a world where all older adults live a full life of connection and purpose in a dynamic, supportive environment.

Click here to view our Gala photo album!  

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