Penn-Mar Human Services 31st Annual Gala Celebrates a Transcendent Past Year - Penn-Mar

Penn-Mar Human Services 31st Annual Gala Celebrates a Transcendent Past Year

Posted on February 17, 2023

Nonprofit’s Cherished Fundraising Event Honors Those Who ‘Live Courageously’

Baltimore – On Saturday March 4, 2023, Penn-Mar Human Services, the region’s leading provider of services for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD), will welcome friends, supporters, and partners to its highly anticipated 31st annual Gala fundraiser, taking place at 6 p.m. at the Delta Hotels Marriot Hunt Valley.

Since 1992, the Gala has consistently been Penn-Mar’s most successful individual fundraising event, raising $629,000 in 2022 and attended by up to 600 people each year. The money is used to fund the group’s strategic programs and initiatives that advance and expand Penn-Mar’s services and growth opportunities, including the phenomenally successful Career Ladders program. Career Ladders provides ongoing certification and training to Penn-Mar’s indispensable Direct Support Professionals (DSPs) and has resulted in a 79% retention rate for the DSPs who have fully participated in the program.

In many respects, 2022 was one of Penn-Mar’s most successful years ever and a true cause to celebrate. The past year saw the launch of the nonprofit’s largest and most ambitious fundraiser to date, the $7.5MM Building Bold Futures campaign. As of February 1, 2023, Penn-Mar has secured over 90% of the funds and the Gala will serve as the official end of the campaign. The Belonging Initiative was also launched in 2022, an intentional exploration of Penn-Mar’s culture and how they can continue to become a more inclusive organization from the inside out.

And perhaps most impressive is that 2022 was the strongest fiscal year in Penn-Mar’s 42-year history, a testament to the outreach and planning strategies enacted by the organization’s leadership team and board of directors.

“It’s a fantastic time for Penn-Mar and this year’s Gala is the perfect chance to reflect,” says Penn-Mar CEO Greg Miller. “So much of the success we have achieved, especially while enduring a pandemic, is because of the generosity of our partners and friends throughout the year and at the Gala. The kindness and unconditional support they continue to show Penn-Mar, and the IDD community, is both humbling and awe-inspiring.”

This year’s Gala will include many of the elements that have made it such a can’t-miss event including a raw oyster bar, casino gaming tables, dancing, live music from the band Black Tie, and the crowd favorites, the silent and live auctions. This year, the nation’s premier automobile auctioneers, Adcock Bros., will preside over the live auction, which will include some incredible items:

  • Bottle of Pappy Van Winkle Family Reserve 23-Year-Old Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey
  • Dinner at Wildcat Falls for Eight: A beautiful setting along the Susquehanna River in Wrightsville, Pa.  An afternoon of hand-crafted cocktails and hors d’oeuvres followed by a gourmet dinner at a beautiful western motif home, amidst the backdrop of the stunning Wildcat Falls
  • A two-night villa stay at the beautiful Thorn Hill Winery in Lake County, Calif. for four, including a wine tasting and a private wine concierge for the duration of the trip
  • A stunning diamond ring featuring 92 white and pink diamonds, set in 18K white and rose gold
  • Four tickets to the 2023 Billy Joel-Stevie Nicks concert at M&T Bank Stadium

But many guests consider the highlight of the evening to be the presentation of the Distinguished Humanitarian Award, established to highlight specific individuals who have courageously dedicated their lives to community service and shown unwavering support for Penn-Mar’s ongoing mission. This year, Penn-Mar recognizes Morton F. Zifferer, Chairman and CEO of New Standard Corporation in York, Pa. and a 26-year member of Penn-Mar’s board of directors. A York native, Mort has served on the boards of many of the region’s art and humanitarian nonprofits including WITF public television, York College of Pennsylvania, and the Appell Performing Arts Center. Mort also helped found the Cultural Alliance of York County.

Guests will also celebrate Claudia Summerson, this year’s Impact Award recipient for volunteering. The award is given to a volunteer who has made extraordinary contributions in the past year, while promoting Penn-Mar’s mission and bringing exposure to the organization. Claudia’s daughter, Abbie, has been receiving support from Penn-Mar since 2007.  

The Gala’s March date coincides perfectly with National Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month, which was established in 1987 by President Reagan. The timing is auspicious, as the Gala’s funds sustain Penn-Mar’s ongoing pledge to support men and women with IDD to always “Live Courageously”. 

For additional details regarding sponsorships or ticketing, please contact Jackie Summers at 443-491-9660 or at

About Penn-Mar Human Services

Penn-Mar Human Services is a nonprofit that supports people with intellectual and developmental disabilities to Live Courageously, whether that’s securing a job, being an active member of their community, building independence, or developing new relationships.​ Penn-Mar accomplishes this by supporting people on their own unique personal journeys. Founded in 1981, Penn-Mar operates 24 hours a day, 365 days a year,​​ in northern Maryland and southern Pennsylvania. They support 500+ adults with disabilities daily through an array of customizable services.

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