Five individuals and organizations will be honored next week at the Ability Partners Foundation annual Evening of the Stars Gala at Locust Hill Country Club.
Jack Howitt will receive the Harold C. Augustin Founders Award. A former pediatric dentist, Howitt served as a faculty member at University of Rochester’s Eastman Dental Center. During his time as an instructor, Howitt helped design, establish and direct Eastman’s SMILEmobile program.
Howitt, who in 1972 founded Midland management and in 1977 founded Midlakes Development and Construction, is an active member of the Rochester community, serving on a number of boards. He is past chairman of Rochester Rehabilitation Center and a longtime trustee and governor of the Al Sigl Community of Agencies.
As part of his work with Al Sigl, Howitt established the Howitt House residence and rehabilitation facilities for people with multiple sclerosis and epilepsy.
Kathleen Whelehan will be presented with this year’s Humanitarian of the Year Award. Whelehan is president and CEO of Upstate Bank and is being recognized for her dedication and volunteer service to many nonprofit agencies in the region.
Whelehan serves on several boards including the Al Sigl Foundation, Highland Hospital and Friends of the Rochester Psychiatric Center. She has volunteered at hospices and in the state prison system and has delivered Meals on Wheels for a decade.
The Bonadio Group will be recognized with the Community Partner of the Year Award for its ongoing support to each of the Ability Partners three agencies: CP Rochester, Happiness House and Rochester Rehabilitation. Bonadio has supported the organizations through sponsorships, grants and in-kind donations.
The Volunteer of the Year Award will be presented to Kids Miracle Making Club. Under the direction of Steve Pellow, the organization has volunteered in Ability Partners’ classrooms, donated toys and other supplies and has been a strong supporter of CP Rochester for years.
Club members enhance the lives of children with disabilities by helping them develop their natural talents and skills through hands-on projects, workshops and volunteer opportunities, officials said.
Richard Hawks Jr. will be honored with the Outstanding Board Member of the Year Award. Hawks serves as vice chairman of Ability Partners Foundation, is chairman of the development committee and is a founding member of the Happiness House Foundation.
He is involved in a number of agencies that include the Greater Canandaigua Chamber of Commerce and the Canandaigua Rotary Club, West Ontario United Way and the Naples School Board.
“Their impact on the communities in which they live and work is remarkable and as a result, we all benefit,” said Mary Walsh Boatfield, president and CEO of Ability Partners Foundation. “We are making a difference together.”
The Sept. 28 event is sponsored by the Lilliputian Foundation, with Bonadio as the platinum sponsor. Joe Lomonaca, co-host of the 5 O’clock News Hour on News Radio WHAM 1180, will serve as auctioneer at the event, while Patrice Walsh will serve as mistress of ceremonies. The evening will feature a silent auction, cash appeal and a wine cork pull.
The gala also will feature keynote speakers Joshua Jordan and the Jencik Family, who will share a tribute.
“Many thanks to our presenting sponsor, the Lilliputian Foundation, and our platinum sponsor, the Bonadio Group, for their continued support of CP Rochester, Happiness House and Rochester Rehabilitation, as well as to our volunteers, families, donors, businesses and staff who also contribute to the success of this event,” Walsh Boatfield said.
Ability Partners Foundation is a not-for-profit organization established to raise and generate funds that promote, support and augment the continuation of long-term services for people with disabilities offered through CP Rochester, Happiness House and Rochester Rehabilitation. The foundation supports individuals with physical, intellectual and
developmental disabilities and their families.