BY TOM LAVIS
As the commotion of New Year’s fades, the dancing and dining will continue as Lee Initiatives continues to raise money for a worthwhile cause during its 16th annual Snowflake Ball.
The black tie optional affair is Lee Initiatives only major fundraiser of the year.
Organizers are planning an enchanting evening to raise money and awareness during one of the first charity balls of the year.
Anita B. Faas, executive director of Lee Initiatives Inc., Johnstown Medical Development Corp. and Walnut Management Corp., said the purpose is to bring the community and supporters of Lee Initiatives together in a celebration and to say thanks for work on behalf of the nonprofit.
Revelers will gather at 6 p.m. Saturday at Sunnehanna Country Club, 1000 Sunnehanna Drive, Westmont, to celebrate the group’s accomplishments in 2012.
“Lee Initiatives Health and Wellness endowment had its best year ever in 2012, giving 33 organizations grants totaling $500,000,” Faas said.
“That was the largest grant awards designation since we began the program in 2007.”
The Lee Initiatives Auxiliary also gave five $1,000 scholarships to individuals enrolled in health-care oriented, postgraduate studies.
Of the $500,000 awarded, $50,000 went to the Salvation Army Dental Clinic, $49,775 to Communities in Schools, $24,757 to Penn Highlands Community College and $25,000 to Windber Medical Center, to name a few.
Lee Initiative’s community contributions, including Health and Wellness Grants, healthcare scholarships, Apollo Award donations and miscellaneous donations total nearly $2 million to date.
The gala, which raised $30,000 in 2012, is a time for individuals to celebrate their efforts, as well as have a relaxed and good time.
The cost is $100 a person.
Reservations may be made by calling 533-0751.
“We typically limit the attendance to 180 participants,” Faas said.
No additional fundraising takes place at the event.
However, a drawing is held for a piece of jewelry donated by Watchmakers Jewelers.
“All Snowflake Ball guests are eligible for the drawing at no cost,” Faas said.
The fundraiser begins with a social hour, hors d’oeuvres reception at 6 followed by dinner at 7. A cash bar also will be available.
“Dancing begins at 8 and features Johnstown’s Flood City Brass, who will be playing classic rock,” Faas said. “They will play until midnight.”
Half of the proceeds go to Lee Initiatives for health and wellness grants and the other half to the Lee Initiatives Auxiliary for the Emily K. Lee Scholarships.
Lee Initiatives is the parent company of the former Lee Foundation and Lee auxiliary.
Funding comes from investment earnings on $9 million Lee Initiatives received from UPMC in 2005 to settle a lawsuit to block the sale of UPMC Lee Regional to Conemaugh Health System.
Lee Initiatives is still the parent of Walnut Management Corp. (Walnut Medical Services, Walnut Uniforms and Embroidery and other smaller services), Johnstown Medical Development Corp., owner of the Seifert Professional Building and the Main Street West Parking Garage and Lee auxiliary, owner of the Lee Shoppe Restaurant and Gift Shoppe.
“The goal is to continue to grow the endowment and provide health and wellness grants forever,” Faas said.
The endowment totals more than $13 million.
“In years where we have experienced good financial return from investments, Lee Initiatives has been able to provide more money for grants,” Faas said.
“When the annual percentage of return is larger, more grants can be awarded and money reinvested to grow the corpus.”
Faas has been working with organizing committee members Mary Borkow, B.J. Zdravecky, Anda Ray and the Lee Initiatives board of directors.
Tickets may be purchased with either a credit card or check made payable to Lee Initiatives.
Reservations are requested by Wednesday.
What: 16th annual Snowflake Ball.
Where: Sunnehanna Country Club, 1000 Sunnehann Drive, Westmont.
When: 6 p.m. Saturday.
Cost: $100 per person.
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