The Martin Group again served as sponsor for the 16th annual dinner and Martin Davison Public Relations provided PR support
The tears streamed down my face and the faces of many others at GALA 22:6 on Thursday night, Jan. 28, as those of us in attendance watched a heart-wrenching video about Natalie Lewis – a beautiful young woman and a product of Catholic education here in the Diocese of Buffalo – who died tragically in a hot air balloon accident in May 2014. The video helped introduce a new scholarship to be awarded each year to a 7th-grade student in Natalie’s honor at the annual dinner to celebrate Catholic education in our diocese.
For the third straight year, The Martin Group was proud to sponsor this event, and Martin Davison Public Relations again provided PR support and media relations to help The Foundation for the Roman Catholic Diocese in its effort to fund needs-based tuition assistance for students attending Catholic elementary schools throughout the eight counties of Western New York.
This year’s 16th annual GALA, which helped launch Catholic Education Week, raised more than $330,000. The event has now surpassed $3 million throughout its history.
Other honorees at the 2016 celebration, held at the Buffalo Niagara Convention Center, included Bishop’s Medal awardees Amy Habib and her family for their incredible impact on Catholic education in our community and their steadfast generosity, and Judi Nolan Powell for her many and significant contributions over the years in a variety of roles, included her current position as chair of the board of trustees at Niagara Catholic Junior and Senior High School, a TMG/MDPR client.
Judi MacDonald, principal at Southtowns Catholic School, received the annual Making a Difference Award, presented via video by Luke Russert, son of the late Tim Russert, long-time moderator of NBC’s Meet the Press, and another product of Catholic education in Buffalo. Luke renewed his promise to make the presentation in person as soon as the Buffalo Bills or Sabres make the playoffs again.
The keynote address was delivered by The Most. Rev. Richard Malone, bishop of Buffalo, who provided an update on the state of Catholic elementary education in the diocese, saying “I am pleased to report our 35 Catholic elementary schools and five private schools with a total enrollment of more than 10,000 students and over 1,000 teachers and staff members are vibrant, robust and poised for continued growth and excellence.”