On Saturday, May 5, 2018, the Child Guidance Center of Southern Connecticut (CGC) hosted nearly 275 guests who contributed a record-breaking $730,000 at its annual gala, Cinco De Derby. The unique theme, along with the stunning waterfront of Wee Burn Beach Club, provided the backdrop for a memorable evening.

The overwhelming generosity displayed by attendees was inspired by Public Service Award recipients GE Capital and James A. Colica, and moving testimonials. The Award honorees were recognized due to their ongoing commitment to children’s mental health and the betterment of our community as a whole. Mr. Colica, in particular, has been a very loyal advocate for CGC for over two decades.

The award presentation was followed by very touching personal stories from CGC’s President and CEO Eliot Brenner, PhD, and former CGC client Eliza McNamara. Dr. Brenner recounted his own childhood struggles with depression, and his hope that all children with mental health challenges have access to the treatment services that he did not receive until adulthood. After, Ms. McNamara, now 22 and an advocate for young people with mental illness and homeless youth, conjured the bravery to speak about her own challenges as a teen trying to cope with severe depression and suicidal thoughts, and how a CGC clinician helped to change her life for the better.

Leading the way in what would become CGC’s most successful gala, philanthropist Denis Nayden and the Robie and Scott Spector Fund announced challenge grants that were immediately met by GE, through CEO John Flannery, and the Herb and Nell Singer Foundation. Building on that momentum, many other guests enthusiastically raised their paddles to support CGC’s critical work.

“We are humbled by and grateful for the incredible generosity of our guests, and to Jim Colica and GE for their ongoing commitment to the children in our community,” said Dr. Brenner. “This is our largest fundraiser of the year and its success demonstrates that our stakeholders deeply appreciate the essential role CGC plays in addressing children’s mental and behavioral health needs in our community.”

All proceeds from the event support CGC’s services for children who are struggling with issues like depression, anxiety, abuse, or suicidal thoughts in the coming year. For information about sponsoring next year’s gala or to join the committee, please contact our Development Department at 203-517-3320 or [email protected].