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Hudson -- About 245 people raised their collective glasses at Lake Forest Country Club Feb. 24 for the annual Toast of Hudson fundraising event.
The event was sponsored by Hudson Community First and Hudson Community Foundation, which will split the proceeds.
"This is the largest fundraiser in Hudson and attracts all who support our youth, schools, city and all efforts enhancing programs and activities for our community," according to Laura Gasbarro, co-director of Hudson Community First.
Money raised by the event is still being tallied, Gasbarro said, but the estimate is around $60,000, before expenses.
Last year the event raised about $55,000, before expenses, Gasbarro added.
"Mayor [William] Currin gave the official Toast to Hudson and the title sponsor Tim Clepper spoke to the partygoers as well stating that the event is about supporting the youth of Hudson and the community as a whole," she said. "Funding raised from the event will support all of Community First's programming in the schools, so every student in Hudson Schools, WRA, Seton and Montessori will benefit in some way the foundation will use a portion for grants to Hudson organizations."
This was the first year the event was at Lake Forest Country Club.
Jan Gusich is a Hudson Community First board member and serves on the Toast committee.
"It is inspiring to see so many people who truly care about Hudson at one event, celebrating what we've accomplished together and envisioning what we have yet to achieve," Gusich said. "As a 24-year resident of Hudson who also manages a 61-person firm based here in Hudson, I've never been prouder."
The event grows each year in participation and sponsorship, Gasbarro said.
"Every year the event gets bigger better," she added. "We are indebted to the many merchants who donated auction items and to the premier sponsors of our community."
Sponsors included: Asian Sun; Akron Children's Hospital Pediatrics; JoAnn Fabrics; ForTec medical; Collection Volkswagen of Hudson; American Endowment Foundation; Day Ketterer; Ramco; PNCBank; Augere Construction; Roetzel&Andress; Kurtz & Company and Keller Williams Chervanic.
"These financial supporters along with Jewelry Art who donated a beautiful Slane and Slane necklace for a special auction and Merryvale Wines through Esber Beverage who supplied the Napa Valley wine for the evening could never be thanked enough," Gasbarro added. "And we are already looking forward to next year's event, always held during February."
Hudson Community First is a local non-profit organization that promotes positive youth development and is based on developing assets in youth.
"The Hudson Community Foundation is an endowment building organization that enables simple, smart and meaningful philanthropy," Lisa Drew, executive director of the foundation, said. "The event was very successful and raised more funds than in any previous year. We are very grateful to the people who attended and to all of the sponsors who supported our cause."