Shoppers poured into the two-day Designer Boutique in the Plaza Ballroom on Feb. 22 at the Ritz-Carlton, Naples, where the Shelter for Abused Women & Children’s annual Mending Broken Hearts with Hope fundraiser drew about 700 supporters.
Trustee Carol Dinardo was chairwoman and trustee Sherri Abruzzese vice chairwoman. Honorary chairwomen were Christine and Terry Flynn.
The pre-luncheon reception provided time to examine the 20 visiting vendor displays — a portion of Boutique proceeds benefit the Shelter — as well as time to decide on which of the 34 silent auction items spread out along the main ballroom foyer most appealed.
In addition, the Dynamic Drawing raffle exhibit for chances on a Biedermeier side table valued at $3,906; a black diamond necklace from Bigham Jewelers, the year’s Mending Broken Hearts jeweler, at $2,400; and a getaway $1,000 gift certificate from Preferred Travel of Naples drew attention.
Other support opportunities ranged from a “Giving Tree” with paper butterflies — a stylized butterfly is part of the shelter’s logo; a “Glitter and Go” raffle; and “Have a Heart-Heal a Heart” chance donations providing opportunities for acquiring gift certificates and needed Shelter items. Silk Hermés butterfly scarves were sold at $200.
Keynote speaker Dr. Susan Weitzman, founder of the Chicago-based Weitzman Center, mingled while her husband, Richard Goldwasser, oversaw their three children — Joshua, 6, Samantha, 8, and Alexander, 10 — who sold copies of mom’s groundbreaking book, “Not to People like Us: Hidden Abuse in Upscale Marriages.”
She described how impressed she was with what “women have put together here Naples. While touring the shelter, I found it quite elegant and obviously very secure. I was most impressed especially given the preceding conditions that lead to the need to seek safe haven services. And they even have a kennel for dogs and other pets!”
A 10-year-long research study by Weitzman melds with the shelter’s Women of Means program that assists self-identified affluent women who have unique needs based on the power, privilege, and access to resources of their batterers.
“Serving as chairman is the easiest job I’ve ever had. Shelter staff and volunteers have been so wonderful and continually helpful that it’s been a joy,” Carol Dinardo exclaimed, She announced that Abruzzese would succeed her next year.
Ballroom décor was designed by Windows Catering Company and table centerpieces provided by Rufino Hernandez of the Garden District Naples.
According to Development & Public Relations Officer Mary Ann T. Green, estimated net proceeds are $700,000 that will benefit victims of abuse in Collier County.