Abilities United's Authors Luncheon sets new record of $340K

Photos Courtesy of Wendy Kuehnl/Abilities United
Paula Rini of Los Altos, left, and Rachel Segars of Palo Alto served as co-chairwomen of the Authors Luncheon 2014.

Abilities United’s annual Authors Luncheon raised a record $340,000 at the 23rd annual event, held Nov. 1 at the Crowne Plaza Palo Alto.

With a panel of authors including Diane Ackerman, LeUyen Pham, Maggie Shipstead and David Thomson, the event raised $20,000 more than last year’s.

The fast-paced, 15-minute “United for the Future” auction alone generated more than $100,000 for Abilities United, which serves people with developmental and physical challenges.

Guest speaker Leslie Stafford moved the 525 supporters in attendance with her story about her 5-year-old son, who she said has benefited immensely from the early intervention and preschool education he has received from Abilities United.

Los Altos resident Paula Rini served as co-chairwoman of the Author’s Luncheon.

Rini joined the Authors Luncheon committee in 2005 to coordinate the newly inaugurated Abilities United Art Exhibit and Auction, which for the past nine years has generated art sales and income for the artists that Abilities United represents.

The Authors Luncheon has raised approximately $3 million since its inception 23 years ago. The funds are distributed to Abilities United’s lifelong services, including Children’s Development, Family Support, Adult Services and Aquatic Services.

Abilities United is a United Way-affiliated agency and not-for-profit organization for children and adults with developmental disabilities (mental retardation, cerebral palsy, Down Syndrome, autism and other neurodevelopmental conditions causing developmental delays), and for people with other disabilities who live in Santa Clara and San Mateo counties.

Since its founding in 1963, more than 60,000 people of all ages and abilities and their families have benefited from the organization’s services.

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