Abilis Raises $400k with Virtual Spring for Abilis Gala


Laurie Berkner, a children’s performer, entertained participants in the Spring for Abilis Virtual Sing & Dance Party held on YouTube.

Abilis, a non-profit organization that provides services and support for individuals with special needs and their families, held its annual Spring for Abilis annual fundraiser on May 2. This year’s event was held virtually, in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, and pivoted from the planned in-person gala to a virtual Sing & Dance Party hosted by fitness and dance superstar Billy Blanks Jr. The event featured Billy Blanks Jr., and celebrity guests from the Broadway and dance worlds who all joined in support of Abilis and encouraged those at home to sing and dance along. More than $400,000 was raised for the organization — a record for Spring for Abilis — which will use the funds to provide continuity of services and new programs that the Abilis families rely on. 

“We are so honored and humbled by the outpouring of support that has come from our community, supporters and friends,” noted Amy Montimurro, President and CEO of Abilis. “Abilis has been working tirelessly to keep our residents and workforce safe. Our front line staff and nurses have been heroic during the pandemic. We are fortunate to be part of a community that recognizes the importance of the services provided by Abilis and is willing to collectively show that support. The generosity of spirit we experienced at the virtual gala was heart-warming.”

Billy Blanks Jr. greets Charlotte d’Amboise, star of Chicago, Cats and A Chorus Line, during the Spring for Abilis Virtual Sing & Dance Party. The two danced live together in their backyards during the event.

Abilis is a lifespan services provider for individuals with developmental, intellectual, autism spectrum and mental health disabilities ranging in age from babies to seniors. The Spring for Abilis gala is Abilis’ largest fundraising event of the year. The gala co-chairs included Bibi Clarke and Dina Urso of Greenwich, and Fran Cohen of Weston. All three have very strong connections to Abilis as they are mothers of children and young adults who have benefited from Abilis programs.

Founded in 1951, Abilis is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization that supports more than 700 individuals with special needs and their families from birth throughout their lives.  Services include Birth-to-Three early intervention and customized therapies, to help young children achieve important developmental milestones. Adult Life Services include day programs, social activities, meaningful employment program, and high quality residential services, Abilis has been a leader in serving the special needs community in Fairfield County in towns including, Darien, Greenwich, New Canaan, Norwalk, Ridgefield, Stamford, Westport, Weston and Wilton, and has a long-standing reputation for individualized, high quality care. For more information, visit www.abilis.us

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