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City gala to aid Make-A-Wish CNY

Thomas Caputo
Staff writer
Posted 2/15/23

After reviewing 68 applicants, the beneficiary of Utica’s 2023 Mayor’s Benefit Gala will be the Central New York chapter of Make-A-Wish.

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City gala to aid Make-A-Wish CNY


UTICA — After reviewing 68 applicants, the beneficiary of Utica’s 2023 Mayor’s Benefit Gala will be the Central New York chapter of Make-A-Wish.

Seven finalists were chosen among the 68 applicants, who all presented to the Gala Committee last week in hopes to be selected. Make-A-Wish Central New York was chosen in the end as Utica Mayor Robert Palmieri described the organization as “filling a void of what is so important in the city of Utica, putting a smile on the face of the kids, of the families, of the neighborhoods.”

Since its inception in 2012, the annual Mayor’s Benefit Gala has brought in over $400,000 to local nonprofit organizations who make a positive impact to the city. This year will also mark the return of the annual gala, as the event was previously on a three-year hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The last gala, hosted in 2019, brought in $58,000 for the Arc Oneida-Lewis Chapter.

This year’s gala will feature local cuisine and beverages for patrons and local musical entertainment by Soul Injection, The Ladies of Soul and their Gentlemen, Easy Money Big Band and DJ Roscoe Red.

Officials planning the annual gala recommend reserving tickets and hotel accommodations early, as they are expecting to sell out.

“Besides being Valentines Day, a day of love, I can’t think of a better way to show our love to these wonderful, wonderful people that make Make-A-Wish possible in our area," Palmieri’s wife and Gala Committee Chair Susan Palmieri said on Tuesday during the press conference. “You look up in the sky and hope and you pray as you look at a star. Now think of these little people who have so much more to hope for and to wish for and how much farther they have to look. So we’re gonna make it possible for them to get their wishes granted.”

Proceeds raised from this year’s gala will help at least six children from Utica have their wishes granted by the local Make-A-Wish chapter.

“We at Make-A-Wish Central New York are beyond excited and so very grateful to Mayor and Mrs. Palmieri and the Gala Committee for being chosen as the beneficiary of the 2023 Mayor’s Benefit Gala,” said Diane Kuppermann, president and CEO of Make-A-Wish Central New York. “Together, with the committee and the citizens of Utica, we will strive to ensure the best gala to date, allowing us to continue to grant the wishes of critically ill kids right here at home.”

According to officials with Make-A-Wish Central New York, the organization is a nonprofit, tax-exempt organization dedicated to granting life-changing wishes for critically ill children throughout the central portion of New York State. The Central New York branch grants wishes of medically eligible children within a 15-county territory, which includes Broome, Cayuga, Chenango, Cortland, Herkimer, Jefferson, Lewis, Madison, Oneida, Onondaga, Oswego, Otsego, St. Lawrence, Tioga and Tompkins counties.

The 2023 Mayor’s Benefit Gala will take place on April 22, at the Delta by Marriott Hotels in downtown Utica. Tickets are priced at $60 for a single ticket for $100 for a couple. Tickets can be reserved via email at or by calling or text 315-725-0560.


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