The Friends of Scottish Rite Dinner and Auction continues to grow, serving as one of the Valley of Omaha’s major fundraisers of the year. This year, the Friends Dinner was held on Friday, October 19th, welcoming 222 guests. Dinner guests enjoyed a hosted wine tasting and fine Scotch tasting, bid on extraordinary silent and live auction items, including tickets to the award-winning musical Hamilton in Chicago, a Tennessee whiskey tour, jewelry, quilts, a custom-made Nebraska Cornhuskers firepit and Huskers soda machine, and numerous items and baskets.
The evening was a benefit for the Scottish Rite Foundation of Omaha’s principal philanthropy, the RiteCare Speech and Language Clinic at the UNMC Munroe-Meyer Institute.
Our emcee for the evening was Rob McCarney, anchor from KETV-7. Rob called up our 2018 Friend of Scottish Rite award recipient, Rene’ Ferdinand to recognize him for more than 40 years of advocacy for children and adults with mental and physical disabilities. Until retiring recently, Rene had served as Executive Director of the Autism Center of Nebraska, and has served in numerous state and private roles where he was a public voice to improve the lives of those with disabilities. In his remarks, Rene thanked Scottish Rite Masons for members longstanding philanthropic support for speech therapy services for Nebraska children.
Rob welcomed RiteCare parents Tin and Christine Tran, who thanked donors for providing services for their son Joseph. Thanks to therapy at the Munroe-Meyer Institute’s RiteCare Clinic, their son Joseph, born with Down Syndrome, continues to make strides in his ability to communicate and learn.
The Scottish Rite is indebted to the Nebraska Student Speech-Language Hearing Association (NSSLHA) students at the University of Nebraska at Omaha who volunteered for the evening, setting up, serving hors d’oeuvres and dinner, and cleaning up afterward. NSSLHA students have been involved for many years as volunteers, and by way of thanks, they will be considered sponsors of the evening with the NSSLHA logo being included on the invitation, program and website.
The evening raised more than $60,000 for speech therapy, including approximately $10,000 for a special appeal directly for RiteCare speech therapy and 3 $2,000 scholarships for undergraduate students at the University of Nebraska at Omaha studying speech therapy. The donors will be recognized by having the scholarships given in their name for the 2019-2020 year. Additionally, anonymous donors matched many of the special appeal donations for additional impact!
Next year’s dinner will be on Friday, November 1, 2019 at the Scottish Rite. Plan to join us for another great Dinner and Auction!