Four Seasons Ball raises $170,000 for Kennedy Center, honors Martin Schwartz

Martin D. Schwartz, one of the biggest advocates in the state of Connecticut for people with disabilities, recently was feted at the Kennedy Center’s 53rd annual Four Seasons Ball.

The ballroom at Rolling Hills Country Club in Wilton was packed with a sold-out crowd of 300 guests to congratulate Schwartz on his retirement in January 2018 as the first CEO and president of the Kennedy Center.

Patrons enjoyed hors d’oeuvres and a three-course dinner as well as the dance music of Cracked Ice. Ball co-chairs Michele Macauda and Richard Burke of Monroe contributed greatly to the ball’s success.  

This charity event raised about $170,000 net for The Kennedy Center’s residential services for people with disabilities. Since its inception in 1965, the Four Seasons Ball has contributed more than $2.3 million to The Kennedy Center and is one of the longest running charity galas in Fairfield County.

Well-wishers and legislators throughout the state and country sent congratulatory letters to Schwartz for nearly four decades of incredible achievements. He received several standing ovations and was recognized for his lasting impact on tens of thousands of people with and without disabilities.  Even the White House acknowledged his many accomplishments.

As Sean Carroll Chair of the Tribute Journal noted, “Marty has been a beacon of hope for so many families in Connecticut.”

U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal added, “Marty is a man for all seasons. He started this work when people were not paying much attention to people with disabilities. He built awareness and called attention to people who often are overlooked. He truly created a national model for success.”

When Marty Schwartz became the first president and CEO of The Kennedy Center in 1978, this small community-based rehabilitation organization was a grassroots non-profit founded in 1951 by its namesake Evelyn Kennedy and 12 parents. At the time, the agency served less than 200 adults with intellectual disabilities, employed 48 staff, and operated with an annual budget of $776,000.  Now headquartered in Trumbull, The Kennedy Center serves more than 2,000 individuals annually from birth through their senior years with a variety of disabilities, employs more than 750 staff, and operates with an annual $32 million budget. Today, the agency is one of the largest employers in the region and one of the largest rehabilitation organizations in the State of Connecticut.

Many sponsors have given generously to make this celebration special. The top Diamond Sponsors were the Bannow Larson Foundation and R.D. Scinto; Inc.  Platinum Sponsors were General Electric, Michele Macauda and Richard Burke of Monroe, and People’s United Wealth Management; Gold Sponsors were Deirdre Daly and Alfred Pavlis of Fairfield, Sapphire Sponsors were William and Gloria Paul of Trumbull and Merit Insurance. At the Emerald level were Anne and Peter Foley of Fairfield, Carla and Peter Gavey of Fairfield, Korchek Technologies, LLC, Newtown Savings Bank, Pullman & Comley, and Diane Thompson and Chip Carpenter of Newtown.

As part of evening’s festivities, Fund the Future donations were collected and will be allocated for a new communications system at the Reservoir Avenue Building. In addition, the Board of Directors surprised everyone at the ball and announced that the Reservoir Avenue Building will be named in honor of Martin D. Schwartz.

Proceeds from the ball will benefit The Kennedy Center’s residential services for people with disabilities, including: 16 group homes; a supported living option program, a family support and respite service, and the nationally recognized Caring for the Caregiver Program that offers support for parents of family members who are developmentally disabled.

For more information about The Kennedy Center, visit thekennedycenterinc.org.

Martin D. Schwartz of Trumbull, president and CEO of The Kennedy Center, with his wife Elaine, son Michael of Scarsdale, New York, and daughter Allyson Mandelbaum of Fairfield.

Martin D. Schwartz of Trumbull, president and CEO of The Kennedy Center, with his wife Elaine, son Michael of Scarsdale, New York, and daughter Allyson Mandelbaum of Fairfield. —Photo by Stuart Walls/Woodstock Studio

Dorothy Larson of Fairfield, left, founder of the Four Seasons Ball, catches up with Armando Goncalves of Southport, president of People’s United Bank in Southern Connecticut, at The Kennedy Center’s 53rd Annual Four Seasons Ball.  —Photos by Stuart Walls/Woodstock Studio

Dorothy Larson of Fairfield, left, founder of the Four Seasons Ball, catches up with Armando Goncalves of Southport, president of People’s United Bank in Southern Connecticut. —Photo by Stuart Walls/Woodstock Studio

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