By ZEINAB NAJM
DEARBORN — The 11th annual National Kidney Foundation of Michigan’s Kidney Ball will have a Dearborn resident as its chairman leading the event.
Executive Director of Roman Village Restaurant Group Patrick Rugiero was put up to the task when the National Kidney Foundation of Michigan contacted him earlier this year.
“It all stemmed from when I helped with the auction committee last year,” he said. “We raised over $100,000 during a live auction and they loved the results.”
This year’s Kidney Ball will be held Dec. 5 at MotorCity Casino, 2901 Grand River Ave., filled with more than 700 notable business executives and socialites. Tickets are $250.
Doors open at 6 p.m. with dinner at 7:30 p.m. followed by the program, auction and entertainment.
The Kidney Ball aims to raise money for the National Kidney Foundation of Michigan’s various community programs and services.
The goal for this year is to raise $550,000 to support the 900,000 people in Michigan suffering from kidney disease and the countless more who benefit from prevention initiatives.
Rugiero has been preparing and planning the event since his appointment earlier this year.
“I’ve been planning meetings each month to make sure everyone is coordinating,” he said, “making sure the action committee brings in auction items and promoting team is on track to promote the ball.”
Auction items will include a private chef’s dinner, Detroit Tigers ultimate fan experience, vacations, Super Bowl tickets and Detroit Lions season tickets. There will also be a special auction filled with toys for children.
The mission of the National Kidney Foundation of Michigan is to prevent kidney disease and improve the quality of life for those living with it.
The NKFM is widely known for providing more programs and services to more people than any other region or state.
“We hope the community will join us in helping the high number of Michigan adults who are affected by kidney disease, and the many others at risk,” NKFM President and CEO Dan Carney said. “This evening is incredibly important to our community because 70 percent of kidney disease is preventable and this event helps to fund the nationally recognized programs we have that can help prevent the disease.”
The organization was recognized for its success in sound fiscal management by receiving a four-star rating, eight years in a row, from Charity Navigator—the nation’s leading charity evaluator.
The 2015 Honorary Co-Chairs of the Kidney Ball include Detroit Tigers Executive Vice President of Business Affairs Duane McLean and U.S. Vice President of GM Fleet & Commercial Ed J. Peper.
Kidney Ball sponsors include General Motors Fleet, International Outdoor, Lear Corp., Henry Ford Health System, Mars Chocolate and Meijer.
“Giving back is important,” Rugiero said. “It is something my parents taught and instilled in me. The ball is an opportunity to help those less fortunate in Michigan, especially those affected by kidney issues.”
Tickets can be purchased at nkfm.org/kidneyball or by calling the NKFM at 800-482-1455.
(Zeinab Najm can be reached at [email protected])