AROUND TOWN

A million reasons

9/6/2012
BY BARBARA HENDEL
BLADE COLUMNIST
Art & Autism Chair Rita Mansour, left, and host Barbara Steele pose for a photograph at the benefit event For Art and Autism.
Art & Autism Chair Rita Mansour, left, and host Barbara Steele pose for a photograph at the benefit event For Art and Autism.

Art and Autism: Impacting Young Lives with Creativity and Care, is expected to meet its goal of $1 million. An evening of art, music, and incredible cuisine was presented by ProMedica Toledo Children's Hospital Foundation on Aug. 30 overlooking the Maumee River at the lovely Perrysburg home of Barbara Steele and Alan Kimpel.

The evening was fantastic, but the results were even better, thanks to the lovely Rita Mansour, event chairman. Last year $300,000 was raised and that event was supposed to be the last but she called for "just one more." This year $770,000 was raised before the event even started. By the end of the evening the net was still short roughly $100,000, but the committee is sure that the $1 million mark will be met, thanks to the donations still coming in. Proceeds benefit The Arts Commission of Greater Toledo and Toledo Children's Hospital Autism programs.

Honorary chairman George Chapman, chairman, president, and CEO of Health Care REIT, was pleased to see all of the health care systems working together for the cause. Chairman with Mr. Chapman was his wife, Leslie Chapman, owner of Scoots shop in Perrysburg.

Susan Block, left, and honorary chair Leslie Chapman hold up dessert cups made by Mrs. Block.
Susan Block, left, and honorary chair Leslie Chapman hold up dessert cups made by Mrs. Block.

So how did they do it? Well, nearly 100 sponsors stepped up to the plate in various levels of support. There were no individual tickets sold, and the first level was $1,000. Nearly 20 local chefs and restaurants donated their specialties.

The 460 attendees dined on delicious food from guest chefs Celina Tio of Julian Restaurant, Kansas City; Sameh Wadi of Saffron Restaurant, Minneapolis; Chris Pandel of The Bristol and Balena Restaurants, Chicago; and Andy Husbands of Tremont 647, Chicago.

Local chefs and restaurants shined, including Fifis' Reprise, Georgio's International Cafe, Burger Bar 419, Mancy's, Veggie U, Nick & Jimmy's, and Poco Piatti/Beirut. Featured were oysters on the half shell, octopus salad, ribs, ice cream pops, veggies, trout, vichyssoise, beef tenderloin, lamb chops, sea scallops, watermelon gazpacho, and more.

Susan Allan Block of Susan Allan Pastries, made her debut. She earned professional certificates in boulangerie, patisserie, and cuisine from the French Culinary Institute, Ecole Gregiore-Ferrandi, and Ecole Ritz Escoffier.

Eliot Lewis, guitarist of the Average White Band who also performs with Hall and Oates, played all night.

Time out was called for a round of "Happy Birthday" to Boyd Montgomery, celebrating his entry into his 90s with a cake and candles which he immediately distinguished with one big puff.

David David and Debbie Sauder-David enjoy the grand affair at the home of Barbara Steele and Alan Kimpel.
David David and Debbie Sauder-David enjoy the grand affair at the home of Barbara Steele and Alan Kimpel.

Under the nearly full moon, Chrys Peterson and Jerry Anderson of WTOL-TV, Channel 11 and Fox Toledo kept the evening on target. Mr. Anderson, a professional auctioneer, enticed bidding wars during the live auction, which included everything from vacation packages, art, and jewelry to special dinners, including one by the guests chefs.

A Hawaiian vacation raffle for four plus $1,500 towards airfare, was won by David Knieriem. Another ticket will be drawn Sept. 15 at 8 p.m., so there's still time to buy a ticket. The raffle proceeds benefit the Great Lakes Collaborative for Autism.

Among the movers and shakers were Kevin and Sandra Sauder, Mike and Carol Anderson, Frank and Lisa Barone, Lars and Brooke Olson, Brad and Erin Betz, Ramy and Faye Eidi, Fred and Julie Treuhaft, Eric Fankhauser, Jamie and Clyde Whitlatch, Sue Hague-Rogers, Labib and Karyn Hajjar, Joe and Annette Napoli, Richard Hylant, Mike Hylant, and Jeannie Hylant, Holly Metzger, Marianne Ballas, Jim Moore and Tim Valko, Todd Commisso and Amy Gilles, David and Judy Miller, Bob and Kim LaClair, Suzanne and JB Rorick, Allan Block, chairman of The Blade's parent company Block Communications, Inc., and Marc Folk, executive director of the Arts Commission. Molly Long celebrated her last hurrah as executive director of Toledo Children's Hospital Foundation. She is head of a new organization Good Grief of Northwest Ohio for children and families dealing with the loss of a loved one.