Harford United Charities’ Benefit Gala & Harford 250 Celebration Raises $48K for Local Families, Veterans in Need


Harford United Charities presented checks totaling $48,000 to local charities at its 2023 benefit gala on Friday, September 22 at Maryland Golf & Country Clubs in Bel Air. The event, which also celebrated Harford’s 250th anniversary, was hosted by Harford United Charities President and County Executive Bob Cassilly and his wife, Deb Cassilly.

Four nonprofits received $12,000 each to support local families and veterans. Since its founding, Harford United Charities has raised more than $1 million through 25 fundraisers to assist citizens in need.

Addressing the Friday night audience of sponsors and recipients, County Executive Cassilly said, “We are blessed to live in a community that comes together to help those in need. We know that the government can’t do everything. That’s why your support is so important. The charities that will benefit from this event provide direct services to children, veterans, struggling families, and those in recovery from addiction – right here in Harford County. These are our neighbors and fellow community members. They are calling for help, and you are answering the call. Thank you.”

The following charities received funding from the event:

Char Hope Foundation – Founded in 2015, the Char Hope Foundation is Maryland’s first recovery support group in the agricultural community. Char Hope’s Rooting Recovery program combines National Ag Literacy Outcomes with the 12 steps of addiction recovery. Participants engage in hands-on learning, including homesteading, commodity marketing, gardening, equine therapy, and exposure to general farm life. Char Hope has an amazing 76% long-term recovery rate, compared to the national average of 4%. 

Chesapeake Therapeutic Riding (CTR) – Since 2018, CTR’s Horses & Heroes program has served over 400 veterans, paying special attention to their rehabilitative needs and physical and social healing. Through a variety of horse-related activities, such as adaptive riding and basic horsemanship, veterans are able to increase their strength, balance, coordination, flexibility, confidence, trust, and communication skills. CTR helps veterans who suffer with PTSD, traumatic brain injury, military sexual trauma, substance abuse disorder, and/or loss of limb. Thanks to grant funding and generous donations, CTR’s program is offered free of charge to any veteran.

Harford County Education Foundation provides resources and removes barriers to learning for Harford’s most vulnerable children. The foundation’s many efforts include college and career workshops; tech devices and home internet service; academic enrichment with a focus on health, literacy, STEM, and basic needs; early childhood literacy and school readiness initiatives; school supplies and homework kits; leadership programs, and scholarships for graduating seniors.  Reaching over 5,000 children annually, the education foundation believes that every child should have opportunities to achieve academic and personal success. 

LASOS is a literacy center offering adult literacy programs, at-risk youth mentoring, and family literacy seminars for non-native-English-speaking residents of Harford County. LASOS is currently serving more than 19,000 residents, including 2,250 youth, and empowering them to improve their quality of life. 

To mark Harford’s 250th anniversary, the gala’s sponsorship levels were named in honor of historic Harford countians. Harford United Charities would like to thank these generous sponsors: 

Henry Harford Sponsors: American Design & Build Ltd., CareFirst, Chesapeake Employers’ Insurance, Frank Hajek & Associates, P.A., Good Shepherd Septic Service, Inc. – Bobby’s Potties, Jim & Tamara Rush, Klein’s Shoprite, and The Dresher Foundation.

Mary E. W. Risteau Sponsors: APGFCU, DIPAULA law, Jones Junction, Inc., and Water’s Edge Event Center.

Sgt. Alfred B. Hilton Sponsors: Bob & Deb Cassilly, Gemcraft Homes, Harford County Public Library, Harford County Trash Services, Horne Brothers, T.D. Smith, and Thompson Moving, Inc..

Veronica “Roni” Chenowith Sponsors: ACR, Altus Engineering, Bartenfelder Sanitation Service, BCV Commercial Realty, Bel Air Auto Auction, Inc., Bill & Paige Cox, Celebree School, Citizens for James Reilly, Citizens for Teresa Reilly, Forest Hill, LLC, Frederick Ward Associates, Friends of Tony “G” Giangiordano, Harford Community College, Ian & Juliet McGuirk, Jim & Barbara Richardson, Joe & Carol Kiple, Joe & Kourtney Cluster, Palumbo Insurance Associates, Pamela Craig, Pat & Kris Pollard, Pax Edwards, Rob & Allison McCord, Safe Harbor Retirement Planners, Simply Grande, Spenceola Group, Inc., Streett Family LLC, Structural Concrete, Inc., Tar Heel Construction, The Johnson Family, The Kelly Group, The Mill of Bel Air, ThinkBigNetworks, LLC, and Vignon Manor Farm.

Saxon’s Diamond Centers donated a beautiful diamond necklace for auction.

Harford250 and Main St. Design provided an entertaining slide show highlighting local history.

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