HeartShare spring gala raises $500,000

Brooklyn Cyclones GM among honorees

April 7, 2017 By Paula Katinas Brooklyn Daily Eagle
HeartShare honored Salvatore B. Calabrese, Dan Grimaldi, Gary J. Perone and Blakeley C. page (left to right) at the awards dinner. Photo courtesy of HeartShare Human Services of NY

A Brooklyn nonprofit agency that provides housing, education and job training for the developmentally disabled raised an impressive $500,000 for its service programs at a gala dinner held recently in midtown.

HeartShare Human Services of New York, headquartered at 12 MetroTech Center, also sponsors a foster care program and operates schools for developmentally disabled kids. The agency was founded in 1914.

HeartShare’s President and CEO Bill Guarnello and board Chairman Paul Torre were joined by hundreds of guests at the 2017 Spring Gala and Auction at the New York Marriott Marquis on March 30.

The gala gave HeartShare leaders the chance to honor four people who have worked on behalf of the disabled over the past several years: Gary J. Perone, assistant general manager of the Brooklyn Cyclones; actor Dan Grimaldi, Ph.D.; Salvatore B. Calabrese of RE/MAX Metro; and Blakely C. Page of Spouting Rock Financial Partners.

The four honorees are longtime supporters of HeartShare, according to agency officials.

Perone, who was presented with the HeartShare Genie Foundation Award, said he was deeply moved by the honor.

“I’ve been coming to this gala for a decade. My adult goddaughter participated in a HeartShare day program and I recently found out that my cousin has been receiving residential services from HeartShare for 25 years,” he said in a statement.

During the gala, HeartShare also raised $40,200 during a mobile campaign in which guests texted their donations after viewing a video featuring a woman name Carol who spoke about how she overcame obstacles in her life with HeartShare’s help.

“When I was younger, kids would tease me, ‘Oh, you are handicapped. Oh, you can’t do anything.’ Today, I live, work and commute on my own and I’m proud to say I can do more things than I thought I could do,” she said in the touching video.

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In the interest of protecting Carol’s privacy, HeartShare officials did not publicly release her last name.

The celebrity guests at the gala included actor Danny Aiello, who was nominated for an Academy Award for his performance in “Doing The Right Thing,” actresses Barbara Feldon of “Get Smart,” Abigail Hawk of “Blue Bloods,” Barbara Rosenblat of “Orange is the New Black,” radio host Shelli Sonstein, of Q104.3 and TV traffic reporter Ines Rosales of Fox 5. 

Four actors from the iconic HBO series “The Sopranos,” Dominic Chianese, Robert Iler, Jason Cerbone and Artie Pasquale, also came to the gala.

Radio host Jim Kerr of Q104.3, who is a HeartShare board member, was the master of ceremonies for the evening.

The evening also included a silent auction that gave guests a chance to bid on such coveted items like tickets to a Neil Diamond concert and Broadway shows, restaurant gift certificates, vacations to warm weather spots, handcrafted jewelry, a three-foot chocolate bunny and sports memorabilia.

For more information about HeartShare, call 718-422-4200.


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