Every once in a while, an extra-special event comes along such as Ohio Guidestone’s Evolution Gala, where every stop was pulled out. Emcee for the evening, TV3’s Chief Meteorologist Betsy Kling mentioned how getting dressed up herself (to her kids’ delight) made it extra special to see guests “leaning in” to celebrate the theme. And did they ever. Patrons wore slinky flapper dresses in black with elaborate silver embroidery, and some were in head-to-toe champagne, cream, or silver sequins. Many men were very dapper in their bow ties and fedoras. There was even a dress-up display where guests could add feathers, pearls, or a hat or headdress to augment their own
The gala was held at the venerable Cleveland Public Auditorium (part of the theme as the building opened its doors in 1922). In this space that has hosted everything from the Metropolitan Opera to Ziggy Stardust, about 400 guests mixed and mingled with cocktails and passed hors
d’oeuvres while upbeat ragtime music played. Dramatic lighting aided the glamour of the antique cars on display from circa 1920 to 2020. Tables were covered in black with a lacy gold overlay while black marabou feathers served as eye-popping centerpieces.
Distinguished guests included Paul Hanna, President of Blue Technologies, who received the Corporate Honoree Award, presented by Brant Russell president and CEO of Ohio Guidestone. The organization’s board member Dr. Martina Moore presented the Community Honoree Award to Kristin Warzocha, president and CEO of the Greater Cleveland Food Bank, an organization that deeply supports Ohio Guidestone’s clients. An energetic live auction run by Mark Schroeder rewarded bidders with trips including a Kentucky Bourbon Getaway, a villa vacation in Costa Rica, a historic tour of Dublin and its intriguing pubs, and again, with a nod to the theme, a totally unique tour of speakeasies in New York. After dinner, the whole building rocked out to the sound of Monica Robins & The Whiskey
Another floor display at the event traced the astonishing history of Ohio Guidestone. Started as an orphanage in 1864 to aid children affected by the Civil War, the organization morphed over 159 years to today, now the state’s leading organization in mental and behavioural health, serving children and adults alike.
Chief of Staff Mary Stiles explained that the organization serves 327 schools in 39 Ohio counties, helping over 26,000 individuals and families annually. Ohio Guidestone provides community counselling, substance use disorder treatment, early childhood mental health services, psychiatric care, and more. Their person-centered treatments exceed national benchmarks and make all of Ohio healthier.
Organizers indicate the event raised over $600,000 for general operating funds at OhioGuidestone. STORY AND PHOTOGRAPHS BY RITA