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Fun fundraiser Place of Hope gala goes casual

Are we having fun yet?

You bet at Hope Bash Boca, the seventh gala to benefit Place of Hope’s The Leighan and David Rinker Campus.

No tuxes here. A tropical Under the Palms theme meant linen jackets for the guys at the packed Boca West Country Club fundraiser. “We’re a little more comfortable,” County Commissioner Bob Weinroth said in his pink blazer.

Whatever goes for the ladies. Place of Hope volunteer Andrea Marzano had the perfect long dress in her closet. Think Palm Beach.

The more casual approach to a Saturday night formal put the crowd in a gregarious mood. It was hard to hear acceptance speeches for the annual Jay DiPietro Hero of Hope Awards. Place of Hope founding CEO Charles L. Bender III presented them at the top of the evening. He wanted to give supporters time to enjoy their dinner, he said.

Jay DiPietro Hero of Hope Award individual recipient Kelly Fleming with Jay DiPietro at Hope Bash Boca.

Angel Moms president Kelly Fleming was the individual recipient. She sought out Jay DiPietro, award namesake. He was the inaugural honoree when the agency took over the Haven site on Boca Rio Road.

CEO Bill Donnell accepted the corporate award for NCCI. Former recipients are Arthur Adler, Frank and Laura Frione, Gary Peters and GL Homes.

Lisa McDulin, advancement director in Boca, did the welcome. Auctioneer Neil Saffer emceed and helped raise thousands for the state-licensed agency.

Place of Hope provides faith-based foster care, maternity care and safety for domestic minor sex trafficking victims. It also supports kids aging out of foster care and homeless families. Their Angel Moms mentor the kids and help encourage foster families to care for them permanently.

Place of Hope is about to complete the Gary Peters Transitional Housing Project. It will provide 16 beds for aged out foster care youth and homeless, single mothers. The first of four buildings with eight units each is expected to be finished in December.

By Marci Shatzman

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