June 19, 2019
Melmark New England Raises $247K at its Inaugural Gala

January 4, 2019 — Melmark New England, a nonprofit based in Andover that provides services to individuals with autism spectrum disorder and intellectual and developmental disabilities, announced that it recently raised $247,000 as its first gala, held to commemorate its twentieth anniversary.

Melmark New England said the Mission Possible gala, held at the headquarters of Shire in Cambridge, was the single most successful fundraising event in the history of the organization, attracting 260 attendees and exceeding its fundraising goal by $90,000.

Proceeds from the event will support educational, clinical, vocational and residential programs, and services for children and adults by funding technology enhancements, professional development, and other initiatives not typically funded through tuition fees or program reimbursement.

Rita Gardner, founder of Melmark New England and current Melmark, Inc. president and CEO, said, “As we look back in this anniversary year, we are proud of our many accomplishments, and we reflect on the milestones that have brought us to Mission First: Every Individual, Every Day. Philanthropic support from family members, friends and business partners is integral to helping us achieve our ambitious strategic vision."

The organization plans to hold a similar every two years.

Funds were raised from individual ticket sales, families—with some donating up to $20,000—a live and silent auction, a wine pull raffle, and program book ads. There were no lead corporate sponsors.

Melmark board chair Larry Cancro and his wife, Luise, also Melmark New England parents, received the Vision of Hope award in recognition of their many years of advocacy, support. and dedication.

Chatham resident Peter J. Troy, one of MNE’s founders, received a Lifetime Achievement award.

Boston 25’s Heather Hegedus served as master of ceremonies and MAGIC 106.7’s Morning MAGIC co-host, David O’Leary conducted the live auction.

Melmark New England was founded in 1998 as a service division of Melmark, Inc., of Berwyn, Pennsylvania, and was based in Woburn. In 2006, the program moved to its current location in Andover following a successful capital campaign. Since then, it has developed community residences in Tewksbury, Methuen, Dracut, and Peabody.

Today, its programs and services include a children’s day school, after-school and residential programs, adult day and adult residential programs, public school consultation and family outreach services, a formal professional development program including onsite graduate education, an expert speakers series, and the creation and design of proprietary software programs for data collection and analysis.

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