2017 Gala - Going Places with ACES

ACES Education Foundation celebrated their 14th Annual Gala on March 23, 2017 at WOODWINDS in Branford.  This year, the foundation raised a record breaking $108,000. 

The ACES Education Foundation exists to support the educational purposes of ACES; advance ACES educational programs, plans, and goals; educate the public about ACES mission and the services ACES offers; and raise funds on behalf of ACES in order to support its programs and enable it to carry out programs and activities not otherwise possible.

ACES was proud to honor the following companies at this year's event:


National Paper and Supply Company has been servicing Connecticut’s restaurants, factories, schools, and municipalities for 30 years. A wholesale distributor, located in West Haven, offers a wide array of products ranging from foodservice disposables, janitorial maintenance supplies, and industrial packaging products.  Their success is a result of their commitment to excellent service, and part of that commitment is building relationships with their contractors, vendors, and customers. They view these relationships as partnerships with one goal in mind, and that is to make every experience with NAPSco highly satisfying. Their 30-year relationship with ACES accentuates that partnership by making NAPSco achieve its goal while giving an opportunity to individuals to reach theirs.


ACES Coordinator of Work Services, Gene Crocco and honorees Michael Barnard and Joe Martino from NAPSco

ACES Coordinator of Work Services, Gene Crocco and honorees Michael Barnard and Joe Martino from NAPSco


as well as three outstanding ACES Alumni:

Michelle Johnson

Michelle Johnson is an accomplished, award-winning artist and advocate for people with disabilities.  In the face of a diagnosis of cerebral palsy at birth, with the support of her family and a natural desire to defy the odds, Michelle embarked upon a life journey of determination and commitment that constantly pushes boundaries.  The most notable example of this occurred on graduation day when Michelle received a high school diploma from North Haven and ACES.  After graduation, she successfully completed several college courses at Southern Connecticut State University.  She later studied art at the DaVinci Project in Richmond, VA and Art Enables in Washington, D.C.  Today, she owns her own business, Right On Art (www.rightonart.com), where she sells her original paintings, prints, and photography.  Her art has won awards and has been featured in many locations along the east coast.  For six years, she served on the Connecticut Council on Developmental Disabilities and held the position of Co-Chair of the Membership Committee.  She is a member of the Connecticut Cross-Disability Lifespan Alliance, and she is a recent graduate of the Connecticut Partners in Policymaking program.  Michelle resides in Manchester with her mother.


ACES Foundation Board Member Judy Terrill and honoree Michelle Johnson

ACES Foundation Board Member Judy Terrill and honoree Michelle Johnson





The 2017 campaign is delighted to share that thanks to a generous challenge grant from Brown & Brown Insurance, and the support of friends and colleagues, the ACES Foundation raised over $10,000 to support our 2017 Fund-a-Need initiative in literacy and communications.

The ACES Education Foundation launched it’s Fund-A-Need appeal last year.  Fund-A-Need raised close to $8,000 during the 2016 Lucky 13 Gala to support literacy and communications in ACES schools.  Watch the video below to see our 2016 fund-a-need grants in action.



The 2017 Gala was sponsored by:

Diamond Sponsors


Aetna Logo



Brown & Brown Insurance Logo



Valic Logo


Platinum Sponsors


Anthem Logo



Performance Environmental Logo

Canon Business Solutions Logo



USI Insurance Services Logo


Gold Sponsors 


Town Fair Tire Logo



Workers' Compensation Trust Logo


Louis and Cheryl Saloom

Silver Sponsors 


All Waste Inc. Logo



Newfield Construction Logo


Thomas Danehy
Jeffrey & Pam Ryan
Peter & Judith Young

Bronze Sponsors 

Friends of the Foundation

Abco The Paperman
Barnick’s Truck Equipment
James Barber
Claudette Beamon
Lynn Campo
Ralph & Marlene Camputaro
Alicia Clapp
Colonial Business Forms
Consumers Interstate Corporation
Gene and Ingrid Crocco

Gail Donovan
Gina Drury
Fuss & O’Neill Enviroscience
Mary Gillette
Roberta Leonard
Frank Mucciacciaro, Jr.
Lisa Mucciacciaro
Janis Panagrossi
Progressive Benefit Solutions
Evelyn Rossetti-Ryan

Jenn Santarcangelo
Elaine Sein
Ted & Barbara Sergi
Todd Solli
State Street Café
Virginia Tagliatela
Robert Tatham
Wanda Wagner
Karen DuBois-Walton & Kevin Walton

The ACES Education Foundation exists to support the educational purposes of ACES; advance ACES educational programs, plans and goals; educate the public about ACES mission and the services ACES offers; and raise funds on behalf of ACES in order to support its programs and enable it to carry out programs and activities not otherwise possible.

Special Thanks to:

Canon Business Solution - Program Sponsor
Colonial Business Forms - Print Sponsor
Connecticut Business Systems - A/V Smart Boards
New Haven Magazine - Media Sponsor
Petals 2 Go Florist - Centerpiece Sponsor
Sav-Rite Liquors - Wine
Untapped Resources - Graphic Design

2016 Gala – Lucky 13

On March 31, 2016, the ACES Education Foundation honored community leaders, James Barber, Director of Community Engagement, Southern Connecticut State University and Dr. Robert LaCamera, Clinical Professor of Pediatrics and Nursing Emeritus, Yale School of Medicine; the Platner Family Foundation, USI Insurance Services, and two ACES alumni, Anthony Earl and Ricky Rosa at its “Lucky 13” Gala.

Lucky 13 Gala Honorees  Lucky 13 Gala Honorees  Lucky 13 Gala Honorees  Lucky 13 Gala Honorees

Close to 300 people attended the event held at Cascade in Hamden which raised over $82,000 to support ACES special needs and magnet school sutdents. 

2015 Gala - The Art of Giving

On March 26, 2015, the ACE Education Foundation held its 12th annual gala.  This year’s honorees were ACES ECA Alumni, Singer, Songwriter,  and Finalist on  NBC’s The Voice Season 7, Blessing Offor; Small Business Relationship Manager, TD Bank and Founding Co-Chair of the ACES Business Advisory Council (1994-2014), Marilyn Ferguson; and Realtor, Coldwell Banker and Co-Chair of the ACES Business Advisory Council (2010-2014) Mary-Ann White


Key sponsors of the event were Aetna, Brown & Brown Insurance, Liberty Mutual Insurance, Performance Environmental Services and USI Insurance Services.

The ACES Education Foundation supports ACES (Area Cooperative Educational Services), which provides high quality educational experiences for public school students, clients and staff.  Each year, the Foundation Board funds grant requests from applications made by ACES schools and programs

2014 Gala                    

On March 27, 2014, Master of Ceremonies Karen DuBois Walton, Ph.D., presided over the ACES Education Foundation's 11th annual gala, held at ACES Educational Center for the Arts.  Attendees toasted several individuals, who are noted for “Living [their] Beliefs within Our Community” (the theme of this year’s gala).  Honorees included Alicia Clapp, the Chair of ACES Governing Board; Jack Hasegawa, Executive Director of the 4H Education Center at Auerfarm; Tony Rescigno, President, Greater New Haven Chamber of Commerce; Jessica Sager, Co-Founder and Executive Director, All Our Kin; and Janna Wagner, Co-Founder and Chief Knowledge and Learning Officer, All Our Kin. Thanks to our Platinum Sponsor, Aetna and other generous sponsors -- as well as a record number of guests, the gala raised $61,000.   The money raised helps to fund innovative programming for ACES students and clients, promoting higher academic and skill-based achievement.

2013 Gala

On March 21, 2013, the ACES Education Foundation celebrated its 10th Anniversary and the Galaxy of Stars, the many champions and advocates who have helped to promote its mission over the years. Master of ceremonies and ACES Foundation Board member, Sharyn Esdaile introduced several honorees, including former New Haven Public School Superintendent Reginald Mayo and former New Haven Mayor, John DeStefano. The gala raised $52,500 which was used to fund grants to help ACES programs and schools enrich the lives of its students and clients.

2012 GALA

On March 29, 2012, the ACES Education Foundation celebrated “All that Jazz” by honoring
ACES ECA Alumnus, Wayne Escoffery. A tenor saxophonist, Escoffery was one of ECA’s artists in residence funded by an ACES Foundation grant. He performed with the ECA jazz ensemble and entertained a large audience who enjoyed fine food and live and silent auctions. The gala raised $59,000, the bulk of which was used to fund grants to help ACES programs and schools enrich the lives of its students and clients.

2011 Gala

On March 31, 2011 the ACES Education Foundation held its eighth annual fundraising gala, ACES Communities Working Together, honoring the late Salvatore F. Ferraro, Jr. and his family for their commitment to the families and children in the ACES service area. The event raised $28,000 for the Foundation's grants to ACES schools and programs for new initiatives.

2010 Gala

On March 25, 2010 the ACES Education Foundation celebrated its seventh annual fundraising gala. This event recognized the positive contributions of state legislators and involved ACES families. Their dedication was pivotal to maintaining funding for ACES magnet schools in a difficult economic climate. Families and legislators were recognized for their efforts on behalf of ACES schools and honored by being presented with “keys” to the agency. The ACES Education Foundation raised nearly $20,000 for its grant program and strengthened its bonds with key community constituencies.

2009 Fundraising Event

On April 2, 2009, the ACES Education Foundation held its sixth annual fundraising event and helped ACES celebrate its 40th year of service to school districts. Peter Young, former ACES Executive Director, shared stories of ACES in its early stages of development. He joined former ACES Executive Director Cheryl Saloom and current ACES Executive Director Craig W. Edmondson in cutting a cake to mark the occasion. Over 180 guests enjoyed refreshments, silent auction and raffles as they commemorated ACES an innovator in education for 40 years and raised approximately $20,000 for the Foundation’s grants program. 

2008 Gala

On March 27, 2008, the ACES Education Foundation held its fifth annual gala. This event honored the work of outstanding ACES program alumni and of community leaders. David Clark, Katrina Ceballos, and Lauren Ambrose were among those recognized for their achievements. Dorsey Kendrick, President of Gateway Community College gave the keynote speech and encouraged attendees to believe in themselves and work for positive change. The 2008 gala attracted over 200 guests, and live and silent auctions helped the Foundation raise over $35,000 in support of ACES programs. The success of the event contributed to the ACES Education Foundation’s ability to award $56,869 in recent grants to ACES schools and programs in spring 2008.

2007 Gala

On March 21, 2007 the fourth annual ACES Education Foundation Fundraising Gala was held at ACES Educational Center for the Arts. The theme for this year was Science Education: Engineering Tomorrow, and guest speaker Ted Sergi, President of the Connecticut Science Center, challenged those present to become active in encouraging more people, of all ages, to increase their involvement in scientific inquiry and education. He reported the growing need for the U.S. to produce more scientists and engineers, especially women, if we are to maintain our place in the increasingly competitive global economy. The ACES ECA Jazz Ensemble and Circus/Street Performers entertained attendees. The silent auction, individual and corporate contributions helped to raise over $26,000 for the Foundation.

2006 Gala

"The Arts in Education" was the theme of the ACES Education Foundation Third Annual Gala. Bitsie Clark—New Haven Alderman, Former Executive Director of the Arts Council of Greater New Haven, and early champion of efforts to organize the ACES Education Foundation—was the keynote speaker. She provided valuable insights gleaned from her long career in the arts. The ECA Jazz Ensemble played again, this time supported by the ECA String Ensemble and The Offbeats, a drumming group from Northeast Connecticut. An ECA street theatre group donned animal costumes and performed on stilts to wow the crowd. The 2006 Gala raised funds for both ACES programs and the ongoing ECA Little Theatre Campaign. Over $25,000 was raised through a combination of individual registrations, corporate sponsorships, donations from New Haven organizations, and a silent auction of fine foods, books, vacation packages, and other luxurious items.

2005 Gala

"Early Childhood Education" was the theme of the ACES Education Foundation Second Annual Gala. Speaker Janice Gruendel, Ph.D., The Governor’s Senior Advisor for Early Childhood, discussed the state of care for the very young in Connecticut and ACES contribution to the field of early childhood education. In keeping with the evening’s subject, the menu included offerings such as gourmet peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and smoked salmon and chevre “lollipops.” Once again, ECA’s Jazz Ensemble entertained attendees. Corporate sponsors and a silent auction of books and several other donated items helped the event secure over $20,000 to be used to support various ACES programs.

2004 Gala

The ACES Education Foundation First Annual Gala launched a tradition of successful fundraising events. The theme of the evening, "Strong and Effective Municipal and Educational Partnerships," was reinforced by speakers and event honorees John DeStefano, Jr., New Haven’s Mayor, and Dr. Reginald Mayo, New Haven Superintendent and Connecticut Superintendent of the Year. Cheryl Saloom, Ed.D., then Executive Director of ACES and Foundation President, stated that she was proud to honor their “effective partnership … that has had such a profound effect on New Haven students and on the educational landscape in our region.” ECA’s Small Jazz Ensemble provided entertainment, and a silent book auction featuring Connecticut author signed works such Steven Carter’s The Emperor of Ocean Park raised funds to support ACES education programs. More than $10,000 was raised at the event.