Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northeast Indiana (BBBSNEI) hosted its 48th Annual Gourmet Dinner on Tuesday, June 22 at the Grand Wayne Convention Center to benefit the agency and its mission to help local children reach their potential through professionally supported one-to-one mentor relationships. Since its establishment in 1973, the Annual Gourmet Dinner has grown to be one of the area’s premier charity events with this year’s guest list including more than 850 of the community’s most notable business leaders.
The Annual Gourmet Dinner offered guests a reception, followed by a multi-course gourmet meal, keynote speaker, and grand prize giveaway. BBBSNEI proudly welcomed three-time NFL All-Pro linebacker Darius Leonard as the 2021 keynote speaker. The evening delighted guests and produced record donations to foster and support more one-to-one mentor relationships in the local area as they continue to help children reach their full potential. This was a record-breaking year for the event.
“Having grown up in northeast Indiana and come back, I’m thankful for and proud of the generosity of the individuals and businesses in northeast Indiana,” said Gourmet Dinner Chairman Bill Schenkel of IU Health. “Their unwavering support is what makes our community so great. The year 2020 brought a lot of uncertainty with it, but the support for Big Brothers Big Sisters still remains.”
Big Brothers Big Sisters also announced its annual Don Wolf Award recipient. Established in 1999, the Don Wolf Award is given to an individual who exhibits an exceptional commitment of service to children in our community. The founder and long-time CEO of Do it Best Corp., Wolf coordinated the launch of the Big Brothers Big Sisters program in northeast Indiana in 1972. This year’s recipient is Rod Schoon, former president of Ashley Industrial Molding. Schoon has been involved with BBBSNEI since 2009, joined the board of directors in 2012, and in 2017 received the national Clifford P. Norman Service award from BBBS in 2017.
BBBSNEI would like to thank the sponsors who made the 48th Annual Gourmet Dinner possible: Indiana Physical Therapy, Pro Resources Staffing, McCampbell Enterprises, Kelley Automotive, Northwestern Mutual, Mike’s Carwash, Steel Dynamics Inc., Seely Office Solutions, Ashley Industrial Molding, Ambassador Enterprises, BKD, Midwest Pipe & Steel, PNC, Pizza Hut, Sweetwater, Bunn Box, Paragon, Paragonsteel, Riverside, Rosema Corporation, Jennerjahn Machine, Automotive Color & Supply, Wings Etc., Continental Diamond Tool Corporation, Impact inc., Five Star Distributing, Witwer Construction Inc., Premier Bank, Lutheran Health Network, Celebrity Leaders Staffing, Umi, Old National, JAT of FW, Summit City Chevrolet, Ruoff Mortgage, UAW Local 2209, Indiana University Health, PDO Workholding, Mark Medley, DO McComb & Sons, Summit Financial Group.
For almost 50 years, Big Brothers Big Sisters has operated under the belief that the ability to succeed and thrive in live is inherent in all children. As the nation’s largest donor and volunteer supported mentoring network, Big Brothers Big Sisters’ mission is to provide children facing adversity with strong and enduring, professionally supported one-to-one relationships that change their lives for the better, forever.