Advancing Opportunities Announces Honorees for 3rd Annual Spring Hoedown

Posted on Categories Awards, Member News, Non-Profit

Advancing Opportunities, Inc., a leading provider of services for people with disabilities, announced today the individuals and organizations that will be honored at their 3rd Annual Spring Hoedown on Friday, May 4, 2018.

The Spring Hoedown is the agency’s largest fundraising event of the year bringing together over 250 business and community leaders from across the State. Funds raised support critical programs like Career Development, Weekend Recreation, and Caregiver Respite along with, the agency’s 18 group residential programs and the largest Assistive Technology Center in the State.

“Advancing Opportunities has experienced incredible growth in recent years,” said CEO Jack Mudge. “We are meeting the needs of more people with disabilities than ever before, but with that commitment comes a need for additional funding. We are grateful to the corporations, foundations and individuals who have invested in our work. Over 3000 people with disabilities across the state are living more independently thanks to the support we get from the community, and we are looking forward to celebrating that at the Hoedown.”

The Corporate Citizenship Award will be given to Investors Bank. In 2017, Investors Bank and the Investors Foundation partnered with Advancing Opportunities to create a Career Development program for students with disabilities at Mercer County Community College. Through this program, students receive support with resume building and networking, improve their interview skills, and receive one-to-one coaching as they pursue internships primarily in STEM fields.

The Elizabeth M. Boggs Award for Advocacy will be given this year to Gail Pfister, Robbinsville Township’s Municipal Housing Liaison. Gail’s work to promote affordable housing – particularly housing for people with disabilities – has given more people the opportunity to live independently and fully participate in their community. Gail is on the Board of Directors of the Affordable Housing Professionals of NJ, and she serves as Chair of the Mercer County Human Services Advisory Council.

Advancing Opportunities’ Volunteer of the Year is Warren Kelemen. A retired Vice President of Middlesex County Community College, Warren has served on the Board of Advancing Opportunities for the last twelve years. Warren’s leadership as a past president of the board has been critical to the agency during a time of incredible growth. During his tenure, Advancing Opportunities’ annual operating budget quadrupled, as did the number of people with disabilities the agency was able to serve. His continued passion for promoting independence for people with disabilities is an inspiration for the agency.

Each year, Advancing Opportunities honors one of the people it serves with the Andrew J. Murphy Award. This year’s recipient exemplifies the example Andrew set by living her life with courage, determination, confidence, and spirit. Morgan Neumann, a 20 year old college student from Franklin Lakes, NJ is using Assistive Technology to achieve her educational and personal goals. Born with cerebral palsy, Morgan is pursuing a career as a vocational rehabilitation counselor at Edinboro University in Pennsylvania. Her goal is to help people with disabilities learn to advocate for themselves.

The Spring Hoedown will be held at Laurita Winery in New Egypt from 6:00-11:00 pm on Friday, May 4th. In a departure from other fundraising galas, the Hoedown Committee invites attendees to dress in casual, country-inspired attire. Live music and line dancing will be provided by NashEast. Businesses and individuals can support the event through sponsorship, by placing an ad in the ad journal, by participating in the on-line silent auction, and by purchasing tickets. Full details about the Spring Hoedown can be found on Advancing Opportunities’ website:

Sponsors of the event include the George Link Charitable Foundation, StemCyte, HBK CPAs and Consultants, Investors Bank, IPPC Pharmacy, the Mercadien Group, Pennington Quality Market, PSEG, EisnerAmper, Fulton Bank, Berkshire Bank, PNC, and Sharbell Development.</p>