SPARK 2014 was just AWESOME!

It was another memorable night for everyone that attended Center for Independent Futures’ (CIF) 8th annual SPARK gala held at Galleria Marchetti on April 25, 2014. Close to 400 guests attended the event to pay tribute to CIF’s Co-Founder, Jane Doyle, as she transitioned into her new role of Director of Special Projects.

This year’s theme was Vintage Circus – complete with a photo booth and magician. People were awe-struck and are still wondering how Brian, the magician, made one of the guests disappear!

Ann Sickon, Executive Director of CIF and Master of Ceremonies, CIF Board Co-Chair, Jeff Boarini welcomed our guests under the “Big Top” tent for dinner, the program and dancing. Galleria Marchetti’s new tent was a perfect fit for our guests, offering a cozy feel with room to dance to the music of our favorite long standing Spark band. With an awe-inspiring sound that gets everyone on the dance floor, Underwater People creates an inclusive format for everyone in attendance – even allowing some people to sing with the band on stage! “I look forward to this event every year,” says CIF participant Jeanne Malcolm. “SPARK was excellent…the meal, program, and music were all great!”

“I’ve been working with CIF for just six short months, and I have more fun with each special event we host,” stated CIF’s new Development Manager, Niki Moe Horrell. “This crowd knows how to host an awesome event and raise money for an important mission at the same time. All of the night’s proceeds will go to support the many services CIF currently offers to individuals as well as create sustainability for the future,” added Niki.

One of this year’s SPARK highlights was a tribute to Co-Founder Jane Doyle who transitioned into her new role on January 1st when Ann Sickon became CIF’s new Executive Director. Jane's family members flew in for this special event to participate in the program and join in the celebration.

“Jane is just awesome,” relates Ann. “We wanted to recognize the spark of energy and innovation that Jane and Co-Founder, Kay Branz, provided 13 years ago when they created CIF to provide the best possible future for their daughters and other individuals with disabilities. And we also wanted to thank Jane for investing her heart and directing her passion toward building the organization during her years of leadership. With the ongoing support of our participants and their families, our boards and staff, and our donors, grantors and community partners, CIF will continue to grow and reach more individuals with disabilities each year.”

“Awesome” was the word of the evening as CIF announced a brand new award…the “AWESOME” award. There will be three awards made annually: to a person exemplifying what CIF stands for; a corporation supporting CIF participants; and an employee that embodies the essence of CIF. More details on the AWESOME Award will be released soon, and nominations will be accepted on CIF’s website in the fall.

A special thanks to the 2014 Spark Sponsors and Advertisers who supported this year’s event, along with the many community organizations and individuals that donated silent and live auction items. You know who you are…and you’re awesome!

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