15th Annual ‘Bloom’ Gala Nets $246K for Stepping Stones

Local dance band Stays in Vegas entertain the crowd at Stepping Stones’ 15th annual Bloom gala. (Photo by Barba Hogan)


It was a perfect late-summer evening for a tented garden party as Stepping Stones celebrated the agency’s 15th annual ‘Bloom’ gala on September 7. The event netted more than $246,000 to support programming for Cincinnati-area individuals with disabilities.

(L-R) Ellen Grossi, Indian Hill, and Anne Shanahan, Hyde Park, were the event chair and host & hostess chair respectively for Stepping Stones’ signature fundraising gala. (Photo courtesy of Stepping Stones)


Ellen Grossi of Indian Hill served as this year’s Bloom chair, while Anne Shanahan of Hyde Park was the event’s host and hostess chair. The gala’s presenting sponsor was Huntington. More than 400 guests enjoyed the evening at the Greenacres Arts Center in Indian Hill.

Stepping Stones Executive Director Chris Adams and daughter, Emma, both of Terrace Park, greet guests at the agency’s annual Bloom gala. (Photo by Barb Hogan)


“I want to commend Ellen and Anne for their dedication and creativity to make the 15th annual Bloom such a success,” Chris Adams, Stepping Stones executive director, said. “In addition to the strong fundraising results, our supporters had the opportunity to talk, dance, and enjoy the new art auction at a well- planned and executed event.”

Guests mingle at Stepping Stones’ Bloom tented garden party at Greenacres Arts Center. (Photo by Barb Hogan)


Event highlights included an exclusive “Art from the Heart” auction hosted by Eisele Gallery of Fine Arts, dancing and live music by local band Stays in Vegas, live and silent auctions, and tapas from more than 20 local restaurants and caterers.

Dr. Terrence and Jessica Poole, Amberley, enjoy the evening at the 15th annual Bloom gala. (Photo by Barb Hogan)


Major event sponsors were Susie and Neil Bortz, Beth and Doug Brendamour/Brendamour​ Warehousing, the Chemed Foundation, the Pettengill Family, the Rendigs Foundation, and Julie and John Richardson/SugarCreek.

Charlie and Whitney Eckert, Anderson, arrive for Stepping Stones’ Bloom gala at Greenacres​ Arts Center. Whitney Eckert serves as the agency’s Board of Trustees president. (Photo courtesy of Stepping Stones)


Stepping Stones, founded n 1963, is a United Way partner agency serving more than 1,000 people with disabilities in day and overnight programs that increase independence and promote individual success. The agency provides educational, recreational and social opportunities at four area locations: Batavia, Indian Hill, Monfort Heights and Norwood.

For more information about Stepping Stones, visit www.SteppingStonesOhio.org.