More than 500 of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation's most committed volunteers, corporations and staff from around the country gathered in Bethesda, Md., last week to share fundraising success stories, make new friends and connections, and plan for fundraising success in the year ahead.
The conference's theme - “Growing Hope, Achieving Results” - highlighted the new milestones and real progress achieved over the past year in the search for a cure, and the feelings of hope and optimism embraced by the CF community.
“The CF Foundation is grateful for the tremendous generosity and commitment of our volunteers and corporate partners who are fueling the fight against CF,” said Robert J. Beall, Ph.D., Foundation president and CEO. “Because of their unwavering support and dedication, people with CF are living longer, healthier lives, and we are making incredible progress as we work together toward our ultimate goal.”
Recognizing Inspirational Volunteer Leaders
Grammy Award-winning singer/songwriter Victoria Shaw receives a Spirit of American Award from the CF Foundation's Ann Palmer, senior vice president of Field Management; Robert J. Beall, Ph.D., president and CEO; and C. Richard Mattingly, executive vice president and COO.
The conference also provided a venue to honor many of the Foundation's most inspirational and dedicated volunteer leaders for their contributions that have made a significant impact on every family touched by the disease.
Kelli and Perry Clark received the From the Heart Award for being longtime champions of the Foundation mission and serving as co-chairs of the Volunteer Leadership Initiative for the past three years.
“We have enjoyed leading the charge to engage and involve new leaders in the fight against cystic fibrosis, while raising the funds needed to change the face of this disease,” said Kelli, as she and Perry passed the torch to the 2012 co-chairs, Mary and Lou DeFalco. “Your personal stories and tremendous commitment to finding a cure for CF will continue to inspire us as we work toward our shared goal.”
Maryland Chapter board member and volunteer leader Gus Kalaris was honored with the Above & Beyond Award. Over the past decade, Gus has donated $2 million in wine for Foundation events, while also using his time, resources, and personal and business connections to help raise millions of dollars in support of the search for a cure.
Milestones to a Cure campaign chair Joe O'Donnell presented retired Boston Bruins hockey player Gordon Kluzak with the Decades of Service Award, in honor of his dedication to raising CF awareness in the Boston-area sports and business communities and raising nearly $5 million over the past 25 years. In his moving remarks, Gordon described the courageous children with CF he met over the years who inspired him to take on the Foundation mission as his own.
Frank Deford, chair emeritus of the CF Foundation Board of Trustees, presented Mitch Greenberg with the Alex Award via a video message. This special honor, named in memory of Deford's daughter Alexandra who passed away from CF in 1980, is presented each year to a person with CF who is a role model to others with the disease.
“Mitch Greenberg has been an inspiration for us and for so many people with cystic fibrosis,” Deford said about the 38-year-old husband and father who has undergone two double lung transplants. “Mitch has never wasted a day yet, and he never will in the many years that he has before him.”
Each year longtime volunteer leaders Marc and Margarete Cassalina present the Jena Award, named in honor of their daughter who passed away from CF at age 13, to someone who has not been directly touched by the disease, yet works tirelessly on behalf of the CF Foundation's mission.
This year's winner, Judy Burlingham, received the honor for her passion, perseverance and dedication to the CF cause. The Southern California volunteer never misses an opportunity to share the CF community's story of hope and strength in the face of adversity, whether she is recruiting supporters for Foundation fundraising events or chatting up - and securing a donation from - her neighbor on a plane.
In addition, accomplished young singers Julia Rae and Crystal Martinez, who have CF, thanked volunteers for making their dreams possible and performed for the crowd.
“Over the decades and especially in recent years, we have made tremendous progress in improving the
Celebrating a Year of Success
The Foundation's corporate partners and staff were also honored for their outstanding support over the past year.
Corporate honorees included:
Outstanding Corporate Partner Award
- American Airlines
Spirit of American Awards
- The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
- Victoria Shaw
Corporate Star of Distinction Awards
Corporate Leadership Council Members
- Gilead Sciences
- Party City
- Wells Fargo
Corporate Great Strides Awards
- Rising Stars - Duke Energy and Southern Community Bank
- Top National Corporate Team - Chubb
- Rookie of the Year - Team Shelby USA
CF Foundation chapter honorees included:
Highest Dollar Growth in Great Strides
- Greater New York - large market
- Indiana - medium market
- Northern New England - small market
Largest Major Gifts Programs
- Colorado - large market
- Massachusetts/Rhode Island - large market
- Gateway - medium market
- Tennessee - Knoxville - small market
Highest Dollar Growth in Special Events
- Northeast Texas - Dallas - large market
- Utah - medium market
- Northeast Texas - Tyler - small market
Annual Fund Highest Percentage Over Goal
- Western Pennsylvania