Sat., Nov. 14 was a great night for Hattie Larlham. More than 350 people attended the 15th annual Circle of Caring gala at Signature of Solon. The black tie event raised more than $230,000 for Hattie Larlham medical, residential, recreational and vocational programs for people with developmental disabilities. The event broke both attendance and fundraising records.
Each year, the Circle of Caring recognizes a supporter who has positively impacted the lives of people with developmental disabilities. Hattie Larlham honored Kathy Sanniti, Director of Women and Children’s Ambulatory and Community Acute Care Services at UH Rainbow Babies and Children's Hospital and UH MacDonald Women's Hospital.
Sanniti has served as a Hattie Larlham board member for 14 years. She saw important initiatives which shaped Hattie Larlham. These include the Hattie Larlham Center for Children with Disabilities renovation, the pediatric ventilator program, improved compensation for direct care staff and nursing recruitment in specialty areas.
"Hattie Larlham is a special place for special people,” said Sanniti. “It works every day to provide the encouragement and support to assist people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, discover meaning and fulfillment so they are not simply living, but flourishing and dreaming."
In 1961, Sanniti’s niece was diagnosed with meningitis that resulted in intellectual and developmental disabilities. Sanniti’s personal experience connected her to Hattie Larlham’s mission.
“I watched my sister and mom care for her, support her and encourage her,” said Sanniti. “That’s when I knew children with disabilities did not belong behind closed doors or kept secret, but celebrated.”
The Circle of Caring honored the Sanniti’s family farming heritage and interest in Hattie’s Gardens with a garden theme. The fund-a-mission auction benefited Hattie’s Food Hub, a produce facility and retail market.
Betsy Kling, WKYC chief meteorologist and 2012 Circle of Caring honoree, returned as the evening’s emcee. Since 2004, Kling has been a strong supporter of Hattie Larlham, hosting previous Circle of Caring galas as well as promoting live and televised auctions for the organization.
Hattie Larlham CEO Dennis Allen described the food hub as an extension of Hattie’s Gardens, a work training program for adults with developmental disabilities. Hattie’s Food Hub is one of only three in Ohio and the only one to use organic principles in its operations.
The event included live entertainment by pianist Christopher Milo, red-carpet photos, a cocktail reception, dinner, a wine pull and live and silent auctions.
The 2015 Circle of Caring was presented by The Alpha Group. Corporate sponsors include Robert W. Baird & Co.; Medical Mutual of Ohio; Brouse McDowell; Akron Children’s Hospital; Hummel Construction; Plante Moran; Summit County Developmental Disabilities Board; PNC; The Fedeli Group. Event sponsors include Bud & Katie Koch; A.R. “Bud” Mays; Absolute Pharmacy, Inc.; Akron General Hospital; KeyBank; The MetroHealth System; Spangenberg, Shibley & Liber, LLP; Vorys, Sater, Seymour & Pease, LLP; UH Rainbow Babies & Children’s Hospital; Architectural Floors of Cleveland, Inc.; Riley’s Clothiers and Cleaners; NPI Audio Visual Solutions.
All proceeds benefited children and adults with developmental disabilities at Hattie Larlham. For more information visit www.hattielarlham.org.
About Hattie Larlham
Established in 1961, Hattie Larlham is a Northeast Ohio nonprofit organization that provides services to 1,500 children and adults with developmental disabilities. Hattie Larlham inspires people with disabilities and their families to dream and achieve through the medical, residential, vocational and recreational services the organization offers. For more information, visit www.hattielarlham.org.
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