Fun and Generosity at the Special Needs Foundation for Community Link Gala

April 04, 2022

Breese, IL – A special and long-awaited night was enjoyed by many in support of the Special Needs Foundation for Community Link.

 The foundation hosted its Building for the Future Gala on Saturday, April 2, which was the first gala since 2019. After such a long wait for the event’s return, the night was filled with even more joy and excitement as guests spent time chatting, laughing, and looking fabulous. The night was made possible by the foundation board members, who spent months planning and preparing for the evening.

 Hidden Lake Winery in Aviston was the site for the gala, and the combination of the beautiful setting and activity-filled evening made for a wonderful night. Scott Patric, from MAX 96.7 FM, as the emcee, greeted the crowd and entertained throughout the evening.

 Attendance was up from the gala in 2019, as 230 guests attended. The guests, sponsors, and donors were incredibly generous, raising over $115,000 to support the foundation. These donations will be added to the endowment that supports Community Link today and decades into the future.

 The evening was full of activities, which included live string music by the Girls in Black and lots of laughter courtesy of magician, Chris Egelston. What drew the most fun and participation, though, were the multiple auctions held.

 After dinner, Special Needs Foundation board president, Helen Heimann, and Community Link executive director, John Huelskamp, thanked the crowd for their presence and enthusiasm. Community Link is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year, and John reflected on the impact Community Link has made in our community over the past 50 years and will continue to make into the future.

 The community, businesses and individuals, donated many great items for the auctions. As soon as guests arrived, a silent auction was live for them to bid on items, and later in the night, guests also excitedly shouted and raised their paddles to be the top bidder on live auction items. The auctions, called by Kues Bros. Auction Co., definitely attracted a lot of the attention and action of the night.

 The gala is a big night for the foundation each year it has been held, and Saturday was no exception. The way guests participated in the events and supported the foundation was great to see, and the foundation is grateful for everyone who attended and supported them.

 All donations and contributions go directly to the Special Needs Foundation for Community Link. From the contributions that the foundation receives, it is able to support Community Link and its mission now and for years to come.

 Of course, nights like this wouldn’t be possible without the support of generous sponsors. The Special Needs Foundation for Community Link sends thanks to the following sponsors: Monken Toyota, FCB Banks, Knights of Columbus-The Niemeyer Agency, Edward Jones-Amy Kruse, Bradford National Bank, Eliassen Group, and Breese Journal & Publishing Company.

 Community Link, a non-profit organization and proud United Way member agency, is dedicated to enhancing the lives of individuals with disabilities through a person-centered approach that promotes self-directed living choices and community integration opportunities. The mission of Community Link is to offer opportunities for growth and independence for people with developmental disabilities. For more information, please visit our website at