Our reimagined gathering honored all who uplift our Scholars.
Our favorite day of the year has come and gone once more. Previously known as our Gala, this year’s annual event shifted to a Back to School Celebration. It was a wonderful experience for those who have long graduated to gather in the Library and mingle like they did during Study Hall years ago, reconnecting with familiar faces and welcoming new advocates for the prosperity of Camden students. However, this study session involved scrumptious appetizers and dining selections that were definitely an upgrade from the cafeteria food they remember!
The Joseph Fund family came together at the Community House of Moorestown, and it was a FULL house! There was not an empty seat to be seen during our inspiring presentations that evoked laughter, grief, and hope. Greeted by the community that helps each other reach for the stars, Student Speaker Brianna Colon demonstrated that she was making the most of her time at Gloucester Catholic High School. A current sophomore, Brianna was honored to share her and her mother’s story. She is a standout volleyball player and has made lifelong friends as a result of being a Joseph Fund Scholar. She is going to be an excellent gynecologist in the future!
Karena Morales next shared her experience as the proud mother of three Joseph Fund Scholars enrolled in the Summer Enrichment Program. She was profoundly grateful for the academic and social opportunities that her children were able to experience thanks to our organization. Without the fear of the mortgage-level cost of child care during the summer, Karena can continue to advance her skills in her career and provide for her family’s needs.
“It gives me peace of mind as a mother knowing that they’re in a great environment amongst their friends.” – Karena Morales
Following a commitment from The Joseph Fund to support the Morales family throughout their educations, East Camden native Preston Brown served as a rallying force. As the Woodrow Wilson High School football coach, Preston is a beacon for the Camden community. Coach Brown brought to light some of the more somber conditions that affect the city. He instilled faith in his players that they could achieve, and soon after that, they were crowned Regional Champions.
“I treated every one of those kids like they were my own sons… It’s not lost on me how important it is to pour in dedicated time and energy, real energy, that people can transform and feel.” – Preston Brown
If you can even believe it, the night got even better from there. The Joseph Fund awarded the Msgr. Robert T. McDermott Philanthropy and Community Service Award to the Dain Family. Just like The Joseph Fund itself is a family, Tony Dain has enriched our cause thanks to so many passionate members of their family supporting our mission. To further exemplify the Dains’ altruism, their remarks ended with a declaration that The Ralph L. & Florence A. Bernard Foundation would match an astounding $30,000 raised tonight!
“Of all the visions Father Bob had, there were none greater than a Catholic education as the means of breaking the cycle that has consumed Camden and so many cities around the country.” – Tony Dain
With that, a thermometer appeared on screen and a fundraising blitz took place. In a matter of minutes, the thermometer was overflowing—$90,000 was raised before dinner had even started! The Celebration raised over $200,000 in scholarships to enable the next class of Joseph Fund Scholars to become medical professionals, regional champions, or proud parents themselves. From all of us at The Joseph Fund and the families we serve – thank you for continuing to empower our community through education!