As Associated Black Charities threw its 22nd Annual Gala, the Sheraton Baltimore City Center Hotel was jam-packed with formally frocked guests. So many things to do, people to see. Sure, there was the dinner, the dancing, the auctions, the comedy lounge. But for many folks, this gala is the time to catch up with old friends.
"You get to see a lot of people you don't see the rest of the year," explained Michelle Harris Bondima, dean of Baltimore City Community College.
The hall outside the hotel's main ballroom was buzzing with people meeting and greeting, including: Maryland Court of Appeals Chief Judge Robert Bell, resplendent in a white dinner jacket; University of Maryland Baltimore County President Freeman Hrabowski and his wife, Jackie Hrabowski, a T. Rowe Price vice president; Baltimore City Public School System Chief Financial Officer Keith Scroggins; Luwanda Jenkins, special secretary of the Governor's Office of Minority Affairs; Karen Bond, director of the Center for Talent Identification at the Johns Hopkins University; and Laurie Schwartz, Baltimore development consultant.
"I always look forward to coming to this because it's a great party," said Maria Tildon, CareFirst vice president.
"This is a great way to celebrate philanthropy," said ABC President/CEO Diane Bell-McKoy, as she proudly surveyed the packed ballroom.
Scot Spencer, Annie E. Casey Foundation Baltimore relations manager, quickly summed up the shindig before scooting into the ballroom to join his friends.
"This is one of the last parties of the season, and it's one of the best," he said.