The Delaware Community Foundation looks up, cookies crumble and wine flows.
NO END IN SIGHT
Fred Sears, president and CEO of the Delaware Community Foundation, announced during DCF’s annual reception that the non-profit has amassed more than $250 million in assets and predicted it could hit $500 million within 10 years. “Oh, my God, people just come out of the woodwork to give it away,” Fred said proudly as party-hearty philanthropists networked in Arsht Hall.
Susan Sherk, who started the Fund For Women in 1993, told Gabby that receipts now total $2.5 million, with many new members in Kent and Sussex counties making donations during the past 18 months. “Some focus on women really does make a difference,” Susan said. The fund helps women who, well, need help with disabilities, education, finances and more.
Girls wanna look good, too. “Don’t I look very Audrey Hepburn? It’s so ’50s,” said busy Julie Von Blarcom, who preened in her black flutter jacket from Peter Kate Shoes. (Peter Kate’s Sissy Dent Harris, who’s on DFC’s board of directors, stood by, looking pleased). Fashion kudos also to Sarah D’Alonzo, in a slim black pantsuit, Louise Eliason, in a jazzy red blazer and, especially Susan Salkin, so cutting edge in a puckered, ribbon-textured blouse and carpet-patterned shoulder bag.
Ruth Tingle’s annual cookie exchange in her Greenville home remains a holiday draw for tony ladies. Among the highlights: Priscilla Rakestraw stumping for the Delaware Breast Cancer Coalition; Ellen Levin describing her time-sharing trips to Telluride; Diane Levin, Ellen’s mom-in-law, admitting she’d imported her cookies from Papa’s Pastry Shop on Union Street; and Mary Page Evans, who left with a sharp-looking Christmas shopping bag that came with her gifts at Everything But the Kitchen Sink. Former hair stylist Kelly Bifferato, so pretty in a soft blue sweater, is now studying to be a court reporter. Festive hostess Ruthie, who runs the alumni relations office at
SIPPING, GRAZING, BIDDING
Genies in a bottle! Small plate invasion! An honor roll of everything that’s irresistible to the palate converged at Delaware Theatre Company’s 19th annual Wine Feast & Auction—with serendipity in full supply. Is State Treasurer Jack Markell so flat-out sexy that his live-auction item of lunch for two at the University & Whist Club drew $1,025 as the top bid from DTC board member David Baldt? “I don’t think anyone’s ever used the phrase ‘sex appeal’ in the same sentence to describe me before,” said Jack who, as host, will let his guests shoot the moon on the menu. “Mainly, it’s just that the DTC is such a great cause, everyone wants to support it.”
Big-splurge vintages kept hands aloft in the auditorium of
Under-the-radar rock stars Pam and Michael Mosier of Newark donated 440 bottles from their cherished wine cellar. (Half are being held until next year’s event). Most were from small California vineyards that can’t ship, with Nadeau Vineyard in central coastal California a guarded secret among collectors, Mike noted.
Event chair Jan Jessup, snazzy in a black sweater stitched with wine and martini glasses, steered Gabby toward T3C’s bountiful food buffet. T3C stands for The Three Chefs. We snagged a word with executive chef Tony Williams about the group’s child nutrition services, which have been a hit at Christina School District. According to Tony, “Kids get it. I listened to kids and began to do what they wanted.” FYI: The Latino Fun Box and Popeye salad have been wildly popular lunch fare.
“Do I want to try dessert? That’s the silliest question I’ve ever heard,” Chris Counihan told his wife, Victoria, both North Wilmingtonians, as they pounced on the Hotel du Pont’s posh pastries. She had the Key lime tart. He had “something chocolate. It was amazing.” Meanwhile, Susan Crowe of Aston, Pennsylvania, and Lynne Schauder of Chester Heights spooned down small cups of Caffé Gelato’s can’t-miss ice cream. “I love chocolate. If I had a chocolate tablecloth, I’d eat it,” Susan said.
The Democratic presidential primary ran second to what-to-eat-next as Topic A. Claire DeMatteis, a sometime Democratic party analyst on WHYY news, said, “It’s going to be a ticket, one way or another,” regarding the race’s two dead-heat contenders. Hillary Clinton as Barack Obama’s vice president could be something to see.
Relentless for a Cure was the theme of the seventh annual Black Tie Gala for the Delaware Chapter of the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. Intrepid Gabby bombarded the medical pros with questions, such as, What is the secret to surviving blood cancers—or any cancer, for that matter?
“The ones that do well go into it thinking they’re going to beat the disease. They have a positive outlook,” said Dr. Scott Hall, medical director of Blood Bank of Delmarva. Added Dr. Bradley Slease, medical director of the Christiana Care bone marrow and stem cell laboratory, “The patient needs to have a positive and aggressive attitude to complete the therapy.” What causes cancer, anyway? “If we knew, we’d get a ticket to Stockholm,” quipped Brad. Both physicians believe that environmental pollution is overplayed as a major cancer factor in Delaware.
Members of the Delaware chapter’s board chipped in with their thoughts, too. According to president Tom Behan, “After five years you’re cured, with the ‘cured’ in quotation marks.” Don DeWees Sr. recalled his harrowing diagnosis of chronic myelogenous leukemia in 1992: “They told me I had 90 days to nine months to live. Then Dr. Slease called me at home and said, ‘Are you sitting down? There’s not a cancer cell in your body.’” Don was treated with the drug Interferon and prayers from a nun. Believe, oh ye of little faith.
Fashion honors went to gala co-chair Krystle Murray, who looked sensational in a buttercream strapless gown with taffeta ribbon embroidery by Jessica McClintock and red pumps with red roses from our local Macy’s. Co-chair Gail Hublein and committee member Megan Tantillo looked mighty pretty in their finery, too.
TEACH ME TONIGHT
“You can get up to the altar and get cold feet, but you can’t expect your bride to be happy about it. The Republican party is in a freefall,” New Castle County Executive Chris Coons remarked about top Republican candidate Alan Levin’s shocking announcement that he would not run for governor. We should mention that Alan, one of two research auctioneers for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society gala, appeared there with one impaired knee resting on what looked like a short stepladder. “He tripped over a dog gate,” a guest told Gabby. Cold feet will do that to ya.
We encountered Chris at DuPont Country Club for Jazz in January, a dinner dance that benefited the programs of Connecting Generations and honored U.S. Senator Tom Carper. Connecting Generations is focused on in-school mentoring, a pet cause of Carper’s when he was governor. According to chair Jane Maroney, “This is the 10th year of mentoring under Tom Carper’s leadership. In that 10 years, things changed. Businesses felt they couldn’t give their employees time off. Schools became obsessed with No Child Left Behind. This is a re-invigoration.”
We had to ask: What role model-mentor influenced your life? Carper picked former governor Russell Peterson, who received the first Connecting Generations award in 1999 and was there for Jazz in January. UD prez Patrick Harker, the night’s honorary chair, said coaches were his mentors. Every success story has a mentor behind them, he noted. “And we support this program because it makes kids better by the time they get to us.” Ta-ta, ’til next time.