DBusiness Daily News interviewed Patrick Rugiero, executive director of Roman Village Restaurant Group and executive chair of Oakwood Foundation’s Center for Exceptional Families. The Oakwood Foundation hosts the 11th annual Red Tie Ball, to be held Saturday evening at the Westin Book Cadillac in Detroit. DBusiness talked with Rugiero about the importance of raising awareness for premature births and at-risk babies, and what programs the event supports.
1. DDN: How did you get involved with the Center of Exceptional Families and Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at Beaumont-Dearborn and the Red Tie Ball event?
I sit on the board of the Center for Exceptional Families and have supported it for the last 10 years. I have also been a supporter of the neonatal intensive care unit, and I have been on the executive committee for the Red Tie Ball — its 11th annual event — for the past four to five years. This year I’m the chairman of it. They asked if I’d be willing to be the chairman of this year’s Red Tie Ball. There’s an enormous amount of time involved with these events to make sure they are done right — mobilizing the staff, making calls, and asking people for the support and contributions, but I work well under pressure.
2. DDN: What makes the Red Tie Ball different other events?
It’s unique in the sense of how many lives — especially children and baby’s lives — that this event and the money that is raised will touch. There are over 600 (premature) babies a year born at Beaumont’s neonatal intensive care unit (in Dearborn), and the Center of Exceptional Families have so many children with special needs that benefit from the treatment that they receive.
3. DDN: Do all of the proceeds from the event go strictly to operating costs?
It does, and it also goes toward the technology that we have here at Beaumont. Last year, the Kosch’s Dearborn Sausage Company donated a great deal of money for a machine that is called the Giraffe. The Giraffe is really creative — it allows you to pick a premature baby up when it’s so small that hands might not be (properly effective.) It allows for a very sterile environment especially when the children are born premature, small, and fragile. Mary and Don Kosch’s — who are also on my executive committee —support for this event, and others, goes to all sorts of those things to make the Center for Exceptional Families and neonatal intensive care unit better.
4. DDN: Do you have a fundraising goal for the event?
This year I have set a very high goal of half a million dollars for the event. As of now, we are on track to reach that goal. We’ve got a lot of generous support from companies in the community like Southfield’s Lear Corp. and HealthRise Solutions. We’ve received quite a few very nice auction items for a live auction, as well as a silent auction. The live auction is going to have the bigger items like a trip with the Detroit Red Wings on the Red Bird (the team plane) where you go with the team to an away game, have dinner, spend the night, and then after the game you come back to Detroit on Red Bird.
5. DDN: Why should people attend the Red Tie Ball?
It’s all for a good cause. We’ve got a great venue in terms of the Westin Book Cadillac, and that is one of the things that we decided we wanted to do this year. We wanted to be in the city of Detroit with the revitalization with all these beautiful things going on in the city. For many years we held the event in Dearborn. My mom, Mama Rita, tested the food and picked out the menu. We’ve got a beautiful filet and salmon for a sit-down dinner. We have the Rick Lieder Band, which is a great band for entertainment. It was decided that this year would be a casino theme and it is just going to be a phenomenal night for $275. Everything is included, including all of your drinks and entertainment.
To purchase tickets to the 2016 Red Tie Ball, click here.