Penn-Mar Human Services’ 28th Annual Black Tie Gala Takes Guests on Global Wine Tour to Help Raise Critical Funds - Penn-Mar

Penn-Mar Human Services’ 28th Annual Black Tie Gala Takes Guests on Global Wine Tour to Help Raise Critical Funds

Posted on January 3, 2020

Event Helps Support Individuals with Intellectual & Developmental Disabilities Live Their Best Life

Baltimore, MD – Penn-Mar Human Services, the region’s leading provider of services for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD), will welcome hundreds of friends, families, and supporters to the Delta Hotels Marriot Hunt Valley on March 7, 2020 at 6 p.m. for the 28th annual Black Tie Gala. A tradition since 1992, the highly- anticipated event coincides with National Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month, raising capital for Penn-Mar’s ongoing pledge to support men and women with IDD across Maryland and Pennsylvania, and sustaining Penn-Mar’s mission of “transforming life into living”. In 2019, the Black Tie Gala generated more than $700,000, an 8% increase from the previous year, and was attended by more than 600 guests.

One of the evening’s biggest highlights is the presentation of the Distinguished Humanitarian Award, underscoring specific Penn-Mar supporters who continue to exemplify the organization’s core values of integrity, excellence, collaboration, and innovation. This year’s honorees are the Kelly family of Maryland, who typify a life of servant leadership and commitment to their family, faith, and community. Elected to the Maryland Senate in 1979, Sen. Frank Kelly served 12 years, providing instrumental support in launching the success of Penn-Mar Human Services. Since then, members of the Kelly family have served on the board of directors for both Penn-Mar Human Services and the Penn-Mar Foundation and their philanthropic contributions across Maryland have been instrumental in improving the lives of thousands of residents across the region.

This year’s Black Tie Gala theme is “Salud! Rioja to Barossa” and will feature world-class wines from around the globe, with a special focus on the vintages from Australia and Spain. Guests will enjoy a full evening of style and elegance while enjoying culinary delights, hand crafted cocktails, and carefully selected wine pairings that will whisk guests to the world’s most celebrated wine regions. To help keep attendees on their feet, the renowned Washington, D.C. band Spectrum will help guests dance the night away.

Another highly-anticipated part of the evening is the energetic live auction, which generated $153,000 in 2019- a 28% increase over 2018. Some of this year’s auction items include an exclusive Caves Valley Golf Club excursion, a Colorado ranch getaway, a jersey and football signed by Raven’s star quarterback Lamar Jackson, and in keeping with the theme of the event, a California wine-lovers adventure to both Napa and Sonoma. This is in addition to the popular silent auction, which stays open until shortly after the live auction ends. And all of the proceeds go to support Penn-Mar’s incredible services.

“The generosity of our supporters never ceases to amaze me,” says Greg Miller, president and CEO of Penn-Mar Human Services. “The funds raised from the Black Tie Gala allow us to keep expanding our services and do more to make our community stronger. Without the kindness of our guests, sponsors, and donors, we wouldn’t be able to provide the same level of support to the individuals we’re committed to lifting up each day.”

Wendy Gallo is chairing this year’s Black Tie Gala. Wendy’s son Michael receives services from Penn-Mar and her husband Anthony is the Penn-Mar Foundation board chair. While the event provides overall financial support for Penn-Mar’s services, it also helps to promote the organization’s overarching mission to lift up adults with IDD, granting empowerment, transformation and most importantly, equality.

“The past year was full of exciting growth for Penn-Mar,” adds Miller. “We merged with another wonderful nonprofit, Change, Inc., and expanded our services to Carroll County to support equality and true diversity for even more individuals. And we unveiled our new day use learning center in Maryland that will help us expand on our commitment to allow individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities to live their best life, including finding competitive integrated employment. If there was ever a time to rejoice, the 2020 Black Tie Gala is the perfect chance to raise a glass, and celebrate the people who have, and continue to do, so much great work.”

Sponsorship opportunities are still available, and individual tickets for the gala can be purchased online at For additional details regarding sponsorships or ticketing, please contact Jackie Summers at 410-343-1069 x286 or at

About Penn-Mar Human Services

Penn-Mar Human Services’ mission is to transform life into living in ways that promote value, independence, and self-determination. Through a range of residential choices, respite, educational, day learning center, community-based, and customized employment programs, the people supported by Penn-Mar are empowered to live a life of purpose and meaning. Founded in 1981, Penn-Mar operates 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, supporting over 500 people with intellectual and developmental disabilities in Maryland and Pennsylvania.

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