NAELA News Journal - NAELA News Online

NAELA Foundation Hosts Night of Laughter, Inspiration, and Competition

By Faith Boettger 
Published December 2020
On December 11th, NAELA Foundation Trustee Vincent Russo, CELA, CAP, Fellow, welcomed over 80 ticketholders to a Comedy Show featuring Derrick Tennant and the Great Cake Competition.

A Chance Meeting Leads to an Inspiring Show
In January 2020, President-Elect Letha McDowell, CELA, CAP, met Derrick Tennant, a talented comedian who has worked hard to overcome physical challenges, at the Atlanta airport in the Delta Sky Club Lounge. Derrick’s personal connection to our mission resulted in the perfect fit for our virtual theater. During the show, Derrick and his sister Julie, who has the “love chromosome,” shared their personal stories and motto to “love wastefully.”

“NAELA’s virtual theater was filled with laughter and inspiration with Derrick Tennant’s story of turning obstacles into opportunities. While the pandemic may keep us physically apart, opportunities to laugh together demonstrate the power of the NAELA community and our support for the Foundation’s mission,”  said NAELA Foundation Founding Chair Vincent Russo, CELA, CAP, who served as the night’s MC.



The icing on the cake? Naming the winner of the Great Cake Challenge!   

Leading up to the event, seven NAELA members decorated cakes and campaigned for member votes through Comedy Show tickets and donations to the Foundation. Top fundraiser Judy Flynn, CELA, was named “Queen of the Cake” with her entry that featured President Trump. “I entered the Great Cake Challenge along with my fellow Board members because it was a fun opportunity to raise funds for the great work the Foundation supports, and to bring some humor and levity to an otherwise stressful time.”

During the show, Derrick interviewed each baker and guests participated in the "popular vote" poll naming the Russo Family and Jennifer VanderVeen (tied) winners. Thank you to all bakers for sharing their creativity and leadership: Carol Wessels; Jennifer L. VanderVeen, CELA, CAP, Fellow; Judy Flynn, CELA; Letha Sgritta McDowell, CELA; CAP; the Russo Family; the Wacht Family; and Wendy Cappelletto, Esq., CAP.

You can see all the cakes here.

Special thanks to everyone who purchased tickets, our VIP sponsors, and members, friends and family who voted for their favorite cake. Donor support surpassed our fundraising goals in a year when it is needed the most. During 2020, the NAELA Foundation awarded more than $50,000 in grants to support COVID and litigation – the most grants awarded in the Foundation’s history. Funds raised will support the Foundation’s advocacy, litigation, and education efforts.  If you would like to learn more about 2020 grants or the Foundation, please click here or contact Faith Boettger.
About the Author
Faith Boettger is the Development Officer for the NAELA Foundation.