Wartburg’s 6th Annual Jazz in June Gala Raises over $290,000 Featuring Blind, Award Winning, Creative Aging Artist, Rachel Gonzalez


Mount Vernon, N.Y. (July 7, 2018) – Wartburg, an award-winning provider of comprehensive senior residential and healthcare services, hosted their 6th annual Jazz in June – A Wartburg Celebration of Arts and Music gala on June 20, 2018 raising over $290,000 to support Wartburg’s internationally recognized, award-winning Creative Aging & Lifelong Learning program at Wartburg.  The event was held at the Surf Club on the Sound in New Rochelle, NY, with nearly 330 guests and over 55 sponsors. This year’s event included a moving story of triumph over adversity as blind Adult Day Care registrant, Rachel Gonzalez, described her experience in the Creative Aging program at Wartburg.

Diagnosed with Acute Uveitis at the age of 23, Rachel Gonzalez began losing her sight until, by the age of 32, she was legally blind.  When Rachel joined the Wartburg family a few years ago, she found great joy in her weekly art class through the Creative Aging program. She light-heartedly shared with the audience at Jazz in June, “No one said, ‘Hey, blind lady, what are you doing in an art class?’” Rachel beamed with pride as she shared the painting that earned her a LeadingAge New York Art Competition award. Rachel’s testimony highlighted the evening that supported the importance of the arts and aging at Wartburg.

Wartburg Jazz in June honorees were humbled by the impact of the Creative Aging program and took pride in supporting and partnering with an agency dedicated to nurturing the body, mind and spirit. Warburg honored:

Christina Staudt, PhD, President and Co-Founder, Westchester End-of-Life Coalition (WELC), NorthEast Community Bank, Anthony Alfano, Vice President and Executive Director, Montefiore New Rochelle, Macedonia Baptist Church  and Biodex Medical Systems, Inc.

In addition to honoring Dr. Staudt, Dr. David J. Gentner, Wartburg President and CEO announced a new partnership that would allow Wartburg to act as the new home for WELC. Staudt said, “I am excited that WELC has found such a splendid home for our programs.”

Wartburg’s Jazz in June has become a hallmark event for lower Westchester.  I extend my deepest gratitude to this year’s honorees, the event sponsors, and the many dedicated volunteers who helped create a spectacular evening,” said Dr. Gentner.

The night’s festivities also included the presentation of the 2018 Innovation of the Year Award by LeadingAge New York President, James Clyne for SeniorU. SeniorU combines the educational excellence of Concordia College with Wartburg’s expertise in senior engagement, allowing retirees the opportunity to earn a two- or four-year college degree.

Mike Bennett, Co-Host of “Mike and Casey in the Morning” on 100.7 WHUD was the Master of Ceremonies at this year’s gala.  Major sponsors for Jazz in June 2018 included Montefiore New Rochelle, Biodex, Morrison Community Living, Patient Care Associates, Inc., New York-Presbyterian/Lawrence Hospital, PharmScript LLC, and Westchester Ambulette Services Inc. 

“We are so thankful for our generous supporters without whom we could not offer innovative arts-based therapy to all those entrusted to our care,” said Angela Ciminello, Wartburg Vice President of Development and Marketing.

Throughout the evening, attendees enjoyed participating in the gala’s fundraising through raffles and live auctions.  Tim Decker, speed painter extraordinaire, provided entertainment by painting three large canvases of famous icons in less than 15 minutes! The funds raised at this year’s gala supports Wartburg’s therapeutic art program, Creative Aging & Lifelong Learning.  Creative Aging offers innovative programming that provides residents, Adult Day Services clients and rehabilitation patients with opportunities to remain challenged and engaged in their later years. Wartburg’s Creative Aging program is a natural fit for Wartburg’s mission to nurture mind, body and spirit and to help those entrusted in their care to live life to its fullest.


Wartburg, located in Westchester County, NY, offers integrated, comprehensive senior care services for all stages of life.  Unlike conventional retirement communities, they provide a wide range of services to both residents living on campus and people in their own homes. From independent, assisted living and award-winning nursing home care to inpatient/outpatient rehabilitation, home care and adult day care services, their continuing care approach has earned them a trusted reputation in Westchester. They also provide caregiver support at every stage, with an array of options to find the level of care that considers the whole family.


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