Fresh Start Gala raises more than $1.5M for women’s foundation


Where the past meets the future. That was the theme of this year’s milestone 20th Celebration of the Fresh Start Fashion Gala, one of the Valley’s premier fundraising events.

This year, the gala raised more than $1.5 million with proceeds benefiting the programs and services for women offered at Fresh Start Women’s Foundation, and treated more than 730 guests to an inspiring evening, according to a press release.

“The community’s support of this year’s gala was incredible,” stated Susan Berman, Fresh Start’s president and CEO, in the release. “We are so fortunate that many individuals and organizations value the work Fresh Start carries out each day to empower women to transform their lives.”

The Fresh Start Gala, the largest annual fundraiser for Fresh Start, was held Saturday, March 12 at The Phoenician and was presented by Bank of America | Merrill Lynch | U.S. Trust.

This year’s event chairs were Pamela Overton Risoleo and her husband Jim Risoleo, and Ina and Murray Manaster served as honorary chairs. The prestigious Founders’ Award was presented to Nancy Hanley, ardent community volunteer and supporter, for her commitment to the empowerment of women.

Guests enjoyed a cocktail reception showcasing a 20-year retrospective of Fresh Start Gala fashions from designers such as Oscar de la Renta, Carolina Herrera and Ralph Lauren and afterwards delighted in dinner, live entertainment and dancing, the release stated .

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