A Sense of Generosity

The fifth annual Mayor’s Gala is set to celebrate how citizens experience Vaughan — and, as always, to raise invaluable funds for local non-profits.

This year marks the fifth Mayor’s Gala of incumbent Maurizio Bevilacqua and while this annual affair has grown into one of the most coveted events of the year, it’s more than just a party. The Mayor’s Gala has become the premier fundraiser in Vaughan, generating millions of dollars for local non-profits and charity groups.

“I first entered public life because I was motivated to make a positive contribution to my community,” says Bevilacqua, who’s been involved in politics for over 25 years. “What I noticed was that this event could be a great opportunity for the business community, and the community in general, to come together in an effort to help those who need it most.”

Since Bevilacqua’s first Mayor’s gala in 2011, the annual fundraiser has grown by leaps and bounds, generating invaluable funds for over 100 not-for-profit charities and community groups. Between the Gala and the Mayor Maurizio Bevilacqua Annual Charity Golf Classic, $2.8 million net has been raised for these worthy causes, including the over $1 million from the live auction for a dinner with the mayor that benefits the forthcoming Mackenzie Vaughan Hospital.

“The spirit of generosity truly defines the city of Vaughan and we are truly blessed with the ability and willingness to come together with the purpose and goal of creating a community that is vibrant, dynamic and inclusive,” Bevilacqua says of the generous donations from Vaughan citizens.

One organization that’s grateful for that generosity is Hospice Vaughan. The local charitable organization provides services, such as support groups and day programs, for families dealing with debilitating illnesses or the loss of a loved one. In total, Hospice Vaughan has received $25,000 from the Mayor’s Gala — money that can often be the difference in providing those services.

“The mayor is very much supportive of our hospice and the services that we provide in the community,” says Carmela Sisto, executive director of Hospice Vaughan. “We run about 10 programs and our services are free for the residents of Vaughan. There’s always a cost with running these programs, and so whatever little extra that we can get, it really helps us out.”

The theme of this year’s gala is Sen5e in the City, which will celebrate how people experience Vaughan through the five senses. Canadian jazz-pop artist Nikki Yanofsky, the singer-songwriter best known for “I Believe,” the theme song for the 2010 Winter Olympics, will rock the Terrace Banquet Centre as the headlining performer.

While the 2014 gala raised $600,000, Bevilacqua is approaching this year’s event, as he does with all his endeavours, with the attitude to do better than before. The city can’t directly control market conditions, but what can be controlled is the effort to make the Mayor’s Gala a success. As he explains, “We can always give our very best with the knowledge that we are part of something bigger than ourselves, and that is making a positive difference to the people in our community.”

For more information on the 2015 Mayor’s Gala, visit www.vaughan.ca/events/mayors_gala

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