Gala Raises $313,000 for Children’s Specialized Hospital Foundation

Left to right, J. Robert Spencer, Michael Longoria, Christian Hoff and Daniel Reichard, “The Midtown Men,” four stars from the original cast of the musical Jersey Boys, set the stage for a record breaking fundraising gala for Children’s Specialized Hospital Foundation at Patriots Theater at the War Memorial in Trenton. This year’s event, “Oh What a Night,” celebrated New Jersey in style and raised $313,000 to support the renovation of the new Children’s Specialized Hospital outpatient center in Toms River (Photo courtesy of Children’s Specialized Hospital)

TRENTON — Children’s Specialized Hospital Foundation hosted its 24th Umbrella Gala on Saturday, Oct. 29, at the historic Patriots Theater War Memorial in Trenton. The event raised a record breaking $313,000 – the most any Children’s Specialized Hospital Foundation gala has raised in the past decade. Even the surprise snowstorm couldn’t dampen the event’s success. Guests celebrated New Jersey in style and enjoyed a performance by “The Midtown Men,” four stars from the original cast of the musical Jersey Boys.

Funding raised from this year will support the renovation of the new Children’s Specialized Hospital outpatient center in Toms River, to better serve children with special needs in Ocean and Monmouth County. The new center offers physical, speech, and occupational therapy. The statewide hospital serves more than 4,000 children from these two counties alone.

“We faced insurmountable odds at this year’s gala – a tough economy and even a snow storm. Credit goes to the ambitious goal set by our event chairman, Michael Harrison, and the amazing work of the committee members who raised the funds,” said Phillip Salerno, III, Children’s Specialized Hospital Foundation president and chief development officer. “We are very lucky to have dedicated volunteers who worked tirelessly for nearly a year to create such a wonderful evening.”

The Foundation was honored to pay tribute to C.R. Bard as this year’s honoree. For more than two decades, Children’s Specialized Hospital has worked with C.R. Bard, a multinational developer, manufacturer, and marketer of innovative, life-enhancing medical technologies headquartered in Murray Hill, New Jersey. Their generosity has enriched the lives of thousands of patients at Children’s Specialized Hospital and the reason why they were chosen as this year’s gala honoree. The company’s generous gifts have supported a new therapeutic playground; a gift to our respiratory program made new equipment and an expansion possible. In one of their most generous acts, C.R. Bard made the first gift to the campaign for the inpatient hospital in New Brunswick.

“This incredible support strengthened the future of Children’s Specialized Hospital, while setting the stage for the early successes of our fundraising campaign,” said Michael Harrison, Esq, Children’s Specialized Hospital Foundation trustee and Umbrella Gala chair. “Four of the company’s executives have served as trustees for Children’s Specialized Hospital, generously giving their time and expertise.”

Top sponsors like L’Oreal USA, BASF, and C.R. Bard joined guests for an evening of festive New Jersey fare, lively entertainment and a silent auction, which raised $20,000. Donors also made specific donations to sponsor a child in therapy services, or fund equipment.

Gala chairman Michael Harrison was joined by committee members Karen Hess; Tom M. Kay; Sueanne D. Korn; Thomas Koestler, Ph.D.; Jeffrey Rosen; Anita J. Siegel, Esq.; Rand Pearsall; Joe Lamendola; Anne Hoskins; John DeFord; Jeanna Dunleavy; Donald Witmondt; John Cesaro; Barbara DeMarco; Debbie Spicehandler; Alan Blake; Philip Salerno III, and Alexander R. Giaquinto, Ph.D.

Children’s Specialized Hospital is the preeminent provider of rehabilitation services for children with special needs. The hospital serves children affected by brain injury, spinal cord injury, premature birth, autism, developmental delays, and life-changing illnesses. Children’s Specialized Hospital has eight sites in New Jersey and treats 18,000 children each year, making it the largest pediatric rehabilitation system of its kind in the nation. Services include outpatient services, acute rehabilitation, and long-term care through its sites in Bayonne, Clifton, Mountainside, Toms River, Fanwood, Hamilton, New Brunswick and Roselle Park as well as outreach programs in many communities.

Children’s Specialized Hospital Foundation supports the programs and services of the hospital. The Foundation is ranked among the top six pediatric hospital foundations in the country. To help, or find more information, visit

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