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Goodwill of the Finger Lakes Raises $225,435 at Annual Gala:“Elevating Community. Empowering Connections.”

Mar 22, 2024

Proceeds directly support Goodwill’s community programs: 211/ LIFE LINE, Good Neighbor and Goodwill Vision Services

 ROCHESTER, N.Y. — Goodwill of the Finger Lakes and Smola Consulting hosted the 2024 Goodwill Gala on Saturday, March 9 at the Hyatt Regency in downtown Rochester. The event, themed “Elevating Community. Empowering Connections,” raised more than $225,435 to support Goodwill’s many community programs and services.

This year’s proceeds will directly support 211/LIFE LINE, a free and confidential 24-hour phone, chat and text service and searchable online database that connects individuals across the Greater Rochester region with a wide range of human services and resources.

“Now in my third year of hosting the annual Goodwill Gala, I am incredibly grateful for the community’s enthusiasm, engagement and support of our many programs and services,” said Jennifer Boutte, vice president of community engagement at Goodwill of the Finger Lakes. “Most people know Goodwill as just a store. As you can see, we are so much more than that. We are 211/LIFE LINE. We are 988. We are Good Neighbor. We are Goodwill Vision Enterprises. Our annual Goodwill Gala is our way of engaging our community, recognizing our dedicated teams and our services that support this great region we serve.”

Attendees of the black-tie-optional affair, who share a passion for making a difference in the community, enjoyed an evening complete with a cocktail hour, dinner, silent and live auctions, raffles, music, dancing and more. The evening’s emcee was Abby Fridmann of 13WHAM News, the gala’s media sponsor.

Goodwill also celebrated the remarkable achievements of two distinguished leaders, bestowing two honorary awards. Dr. April Aycock, the Monroe County Office of Mental Health Director and President/CEO of Awareness Counseling Services, received the Good Neighbor Award. Kevin Lynch, President/CEO of National Industries for the Blind (NIB), received the prestigious Dr. Gwen Sterns Visionary Award.

For more information about Goodwill of the Finger Lakes, visit



A 501(c)(3) charitable organization, Goodwill of the Finger Lakes prepares and empowers people with barriers to independence to be self-sufficient and contribute to their families and communities. Headquartered in Rochester, New York, Goodwill of the Finger Lakes’ mission programs Goodwill Vision Enterprises (formerly ABVI, Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired) and 211/LIFE LINE have a very long and successful history of providing services to our region. The organization’s more than 700 individuals use their passion and expertise to find innovative solutions to address pressing social needs. Each year, Goodwill of the Finger Lakes positively impacts the lives of more than 150,000 people.



Courtney O’Gorman, Dixon Schwabl + Company