GUARDIAN ANGEL BENEFIT OF HOPE

With in-person gatherings now a public health risk, Catholic Charities, Diocese of Trenton shifted all our fundraising efforts this year online, consolidating four annual fundraisers into a single virtual event to ensure the safety of our supporters and staff.

Our inaugural Guardian Angel Benefit of Hope went off without a hitch on Sept. 30th. The 90-minute, live-streamed event raised $310,000 – exceeding its $260,000 goal – that will support more than 60 programs we offer in Burlington, Mercer, Monmouth and Ocean counties.

New Jersey’s own comedian and actor Joe Piscopo graciously volunteered to host, with more than 1,000 people tuning in.

“It was a spectacular event that expanded our reach and shined attention on our honorees in a mighty way,” said Marlene Laó-Collins, executive director. “I extend my congratulations to them and my sincere gratitude to all who donated and watched. You made it a successful event.”

Our honorees included:

  • Thomas J. Keefe and Dr. Judithann C. Keefe

    Richard J. Hughes, Catholic Charities, Diocese of Trenton Humanitarian Award

  • Deacon James L. Casa

    Light of Hope Award for Burlington County

  • Mary Jo Herbert

    Light of Hope Award for Mercer County

  • Dr. Jack V. Kirnan

    Light of Hope Award for Monmouth County

  • Oceanaire Women’s Golf Association

    Light of Hope Award for Ocean County

  • Stark & Stark

    Corporate Citizen of the Year

  • Robert

    Client Achievement Award

For more information on joining us for the 2021 Guardian Angel Benefit of Hope, contact Jennifer Leip at (609) 394–5181 x1137 or jleip@cctrenton.org

Thomas J. Keefe and Dr. Judithann C. Keefe

Richard J. Hughes, Catholic Charities, Diocese of Trenton Humanitarian Award

The Keefes have supported Catholic Charities since 1998 and served on the Guardian Angel Dinner Dance Planning Committee for years, chairing it in 2017. They are members of the St. Catharine – St. Margaret Parish in Spring Lake, where they served on the parish Faith to Move Mountains committee and Judi is a lector and Eucharistic minister and Tom chaired the St. Catharine School Advisory Board. Tom also is a sacristan for St.Catharine-St. Margaret Parish and St. Rose in Belmar. Now retired, Tom had a long corporate career, including Johnson & Johnson, Jockey International, and Ideal Office Systems. Judi retired as assistant superintendent of Moorestown Township Public Schools after 32 years in New Jersey public education. She also was an adjunct professor at Monmouth and Fairleigh Dickinson universities. Married 55 years, they have two children and four grandchildren.

Deacon James L. Casa

Light of Hope Award, Burlington County

Deacon Casa has been a member of Catholic Charities’ Burlington County Board for nearly 10 years and sits on Catholic Charities’ Social Policy Committee. He has promoted collections through the Sacred Heart Church in Mount Holly for Catholic Charities’ Burlington County programs. He serves as president of the Rancocas Valley Clergy Association, a police chaplain for the Mount Holly Township Police Department and a chaplain at the Hampton Hospital in Westampton, where he is a spiritual counselor to patients recovering from drug addictions and alcoholism. He is retired from the Burlington County Freeholders, where he worked for 24 years as a transportation advocate for senior citizens and people with disabilities and created a free transportation program that served the clients of Delaware House. He and Emmy, his wife of 45 years, have two grown children.

Mary Jo Herbert

Light of Hope Award, Mercer County

Mary Jo has supported Catholic Charities since 1991. A hay farmer and thoroughbred horse breeder, she was president of the New Jersey Board of Agriculture, president of the New Jersey Thoroughbred Breeders’ Association, and a member of the National Breeders’ Cup Board and the New Jersey Farm Service Agency Committee. Mary Jo’s late husband, Michael Herbert Sr., received the Light of Hope, Mercer County award in 2004 and served on Catholic Charities’ Board of Trustees. Their son, Michael Herbert Jr., now serves on Catholic Charities’ Board of Trustees. Mary Jo is a parishioner at St. James Church in Pennington, where she is active on their gardening committee. She has five grown children and eight grandchildren.

Dr. Jack V. Kirnan

Light of Hope Award, Monmouth County

Jack has supported Catholic Charities for years and served on its Board of Trustees since 2014, chairing its Strategic Planning Board and serving on its Finance Committee. He also served on Catholic Charities’ Monmouth County Board. After a career in financial services and higher education, Jack now heads Kirnan Coaching Associates, which provides executive, career, and life coaching. Jack and Jean, his wife of 40 years, have three children, a granddaughter, and another grandchild coming. They are members of St. Catharine – St. Margaret Parish in Spring Lake, where Jack is a trustee, a Finance Committee member, and former president of the Parish Pastoral Council. He is also a Eucharistic minister and helps run the Parish Bereavement Group. Jack is Secretary for Cohort 19 of the Diocese of Trenton’s Diocesan Faith in Our Future Planning Initiative and a Diocesan Planning Commission member.

Oceanaire Women’s Golf Association

Light of Hope Award, Ocean County

The Oceanaire Women’s Golf Association has raised more than $100,000 for Catholic Charities’ Providence House Domestic Violence Services of Ocean County through an annual Partner in Peace event for the past six years. The event is a luncheon and golf outing that typically draws close to 150 people each June. Organizers solicit support from area businesses and residents and also donate raffle proceeds to Providence House. The association is part of the Greenbriar Oceanaire Golf and Country Club. Members also support area youth through scholarships. “Domestic violence really is quite prevalent in our communities, so we wanted to do something to help,” an association spokeswoman said. 

Stark & Stark

Corporate Citizen of the Year

Stark & Stark has been a significant donor since 2001. As one of the oldest law practices in New Jersey, Stark & Stark offers a full range of legal services for businesses and individuals. Since its founding in 1933, Stark & Stark has been committed to active participation in and support of the community. Many of the firm’s attorneys and staff volunteer in their communities. Stark & Stark understands the importance of both client and community relationships. Between financial contributions, donations, and employee involvement, Stark & Stark has forged alliances with more than 200 different local, regional, and national community organizations, associations, nonprofits, and charitable organizations.

Robert

Client Achievement Award

Robert broke a longtime cycle of drug addiction and incarceration after he reached out to Catholic Charities for help in 2017 and began counseling in Partners in Recovery. There, he also learned to manage symptoms related to his PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder). He inspired the creation of a new men’s trauma support group at Catholic Charities and wrote a book about his journey. He has become an advocate who works to destigmatize mental illness. He now works as a peer mentor at Catholic Charities’ Early Intervention Support Services program in Hamilton and serves on the agency’s Behavioral Health Consumer Advisory Council. He is pursuing a college degree with the goal of working professionally as a counselor.

2020 Sponsors

Click the icon below to download a low-quality web-friendly version of the 2020 Guardian Angel Benefit of Hope Program Journal

For more information on advertising within our Program Journal, contact contact Jennifer Leip at (609) 394–5181 x1137 or jleip@cctrenton.org

2020 Guardian Angel Benefit of Hope Planning Committee

  • Mary Ann Saville, Co-chair
  • Caroline Taylor, Co-chair
  • Tina Cilurso
  • Dr. John J. DiBiase
  • Megan Gordon
  • William Isele, Esq.
  • Dolores Kelley, Esq.
  • Wallace Loza
  • Elaine Molen
  • Lisa Motz
  • Jeff Richardson
  • Robert Tanzola
  • David Toner

We are always looking for volunteers to help plan this important event. For more information about how you may be able to help, contact contact Jennifer Leip at (609) 394–5181 x1137 or jleip@cctrenton.org

Joe Piscopo, a native New Jerseyan, Saturday Night Live alum, comedian, and actor, graciously hosted the 2020 Guardian Angel Benefit of Hope. Piscopo is well-known for supporting the community through charitable works and appearances.

For more information on joining us for the 2021 Guardian Angel Benefit of Hope, contact contact Jennifer Leip at (609) 394–5181 x1137 or jleip@cctrenton.org

Need Help? Call 1-800-360-7711
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