It was 1997. Packed inside a ballroom of the Phoenix Country Club were families and individuals who were there to learn more about autism and Phoenix’s newest nonprofit. Southwest Autism Research & Resource Center— then the Southwest Autism Research Center—was holding its inaugural Community Breakfast event, marking the organization’s first fundraiser. This was an opportunity to share SARRC’s mission of supporting individuals with autism and their families.
The audience pushed the room to its brink – 325 people in all. Most of the attendees were personal friends of co-founders Denise Resnik, Drs. Cindy Schneider and Raun Melmed. Joining them were families who had been impacted by autism, parents like Denise and Cindy who wanted to find answers for their children. There were members of the business community there as well, some who would later become SARRC’s most loyal supporters.
Fast-forward 20 years and SARRC’s mission and vision hasn’t wavered. And the Annual Community Breakfast has transformed immensely to one of the most-anticipated community events in the Valley. It is also SARRC’s largest fundraiser. Debbie Schwartz, one of the event’s most instrumental committee members, was at the inaugural breakfast and remembers the event in detail.
“The attendance has changed from personal friends and family to a large presence by the business community and local, county and state government,” says Debbie.
This year’s Annual Community Breakfast will likely reach capacity, giving attendees a chance to hear heartfelt stories, the latest on SARRC’s innovative programs and services, and revolutionary accomplishments over the last 20 years.
Debbie says she enjoys the synergy of the event, from the moment before the doors open to the end of the event when the room is a flurry of activity.
“People stay and talk about what they just witnessed and how inspired they are to be a part of the SARRC community—either financially or through their volunteer service,” says Debbie.
During the 2017 event, appropriately themed “Revolution,” the event will kick-start with opening remarks from loyal SARRC supporters and co-chairs, Kathy and Mike Bosco. Attendees will see the return of SARRC’s most revered leaders, including Denise and Dr. Melmed, and the first to hear about the latest plans for programs and services.
Funds raised during the event help SARRC provide vital services to individuals with autism and their families. Each year, the breakfast brings together an amazing community of individuals who are passionate about helping children and adults reach their fullest potential.
Join the revolution and help us redefine the status quo of autism! We look forward to seeing you on April 28 at the Arizona Biltmore.
Karen Donmoyer speaks at the 2015 Annual Community Breakfast