Ted Durkin (left) representing Bank of America with (from left) board member Tony Sorrentino, his wife Jennifer, Meg Durkin, and board members Matt Millan and John Shea. (Photo courtesy of Stephanie Mann)

by Paula M. Riley

When the Chestnut Hill Historical Society changed the date, location and ticket options for its annual fund-raising gala, it was uncertain how the community would feel. Those fears were put to rest on Saturday night when the community responded with resounding support, raising a total of $57,000.

The gala, now called A Preservation Celebration, was a huge success with more than 250 guests in attendance at the estate of Janet and Ron Rock on West Chestnut Hill Avenue.

The sold-out gala, presented by event sponsor East River Bank, also attracted five new members not only to support the event but also to join the organization’s Anniversary Society as well.

“With a miniscule endowment of $8,800, we rely heavily on annual fundraising to support the operating budget,” said Jennifer Hawk, CHHS executive director “The success of A Preservation Celebration is providing more than 20 percent of our operating budget, so that we continue to provide resources to historic homeowners, serve as advocates of our community’s historic resources, maintain and make accessible the area’s rich history in our archives and expand open space and watershed protection through the easement program.”

“From start to finish, the evening was everything that we have been hoping for,” said event co-chair Christy Kelly. “The Rock’s house looked simply beautiful – it was the perfect menu. The food by Bacchus was exceptional. The music provided the perfect backdrop, and the incredible turnout all combined to make it an event that we were truly excited by.”

Attendees exceeded the society’s target by 25 percent and included many community residents and leaders. William R. Valerio, the Patricia Van Burgh Allison Director and CEO of the Woodmere Art Museum, joined the festivities.

“As the director of Woodmere, I am very excited to be working closely with the Chestnut Hill Historical Society,” Valerio said. “We are both dedicated to preserving the past and making it relevant in the present.”

Bacchus Catering, which has served at past historical society celebrations, changed its approach this year from a buffet style to a roaming feast. Guests loved having so many interesting options delivered in such a creative way. Committee members provided an endless supply of homemade holiday cookies and treats to complement the delicious foods.

Making desserts was just one of the many tasks completed by the committee of three dozen volunteers who planned the party, generated sponsorship, designed the logo and invitations, chose the menus, stuffed thousands of envelopes, selected the band and organized the raffle packages and silent auction items.

Joining long-time contributing sponsor Eichler & Moffly Realtors were new associate sponsors including Bank of America, Dennis F. Meyer, Inc., Logan Capital Management, Matthew Millan Architects and Nolan Painting.

“We are so appreciative of the support we receive from our gracious hosts the Rocks, the attendees, co-chairs Christy and Martha, the committee members and our sponsors,” said Frank Niepold, president of the historical society.

If you were unable to attend Potpourri but would like to make a contribution to the Chestnut Hill Historical Society, please contact Audrey Simpson at (215)247-0417, ext. 103 or go to www.chhist.org.


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