For The Kids!

Our Mission:

The Hope Gala is committed to conquering childhood cancer by raising awareness, providing financial assistance, and supporting the fundraising efforts of Penn State Dance Marathon (THON), which benefits Four Diamonds, through our annual gala and year-round fundraising.

About Us:

The Hope Gala is an annual gala and year-round fundraising organization established to support the fundraising efforts of Penn State Dance Marathon (THON). Since 2008, The Hope Gala has raised over $1.1 million towards the mission of conquering childhood cancer. Four Diamonds is the sole beneficiary of THON's fundraising activities and THON is the largest contributor to Four Diamonds. All proceeds benefit childhood cancer patients and their families in need of financial aid, medical assistance, and emotional support at the Penn State Hershey Children’s Hospital. The Hope Gala was founded by the New York City Chapter of the Penn State Alumni Association with support from the Northern New Jersey Chapter.

Hope Gala Executive Committee


Ema Gaubaite

Co-Executive Director


Sara Leary

Co-Executive Director


Emily Andrews-Rice

Development Director


Kelly Dormer

Community & Strategic Partnership Director


Meagan Ebmyer

Communications Director


JoAnn Esposito

Auction Director


Katie Lanktree

Events Director


Karisa Maxwell

Social Media Director


Mannat Parmar

Sponsorship Director


Katrina Perez

Volunteer Director


Kaitlin Pierce

Volunteer Director


Lorenza Ingram

Content Director


Kyle Robb

Mini-Events Director


Greg Ryan

Production Director


Carla Sanchez-Armora

Sponsorship Director


Jenna Wilson

Family Relations Director


Ally Zimmerman

Mini-Events Director


Jon Florio

Public Relations Coordinator


Patrick Bunting

Public Relations Coordinator


Al Smith

Community Outreach Coordinator


Carly Chroman

Community Outreach Coordinator


Lauren Pitts

Hoboken Mini-Events Coordinator


Linsey Shea

Production Coordinator


Samantha Shoffner

Gala Volunteer Coordinator

Meet our Advisory Board

The Hope Gala would not be where it is today without the guidance, expertise and support of our talented Advisory Board.

2018 Hope Gala Family: The Hess'

2018 Hope Gala Leah Still Award for Courage Recipient: The Conner M. Holland Foundation

2018 Hope Gala Family Speaker: The Hess Family

Lydia Hess, who was born in July 2011, lives near Hershey, PA with her parents, Brandon and Julie, and brothers, Owen (8) and Silas (1.5). In 2014, when she was just two and a half, Lydia was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL). Throughout that year, Lydia was admitted overnight 10 times for almost 100 days, including one two-month stay. During these visits, she endured chemo, anesthesia for spinal taps, a dozen blood transfusions and other procedures. Nevertheless, Lydia is a fighter and completed treatment after 2.5 years in September 2016.

Today, Lydia still goes to a clinic monthly to check her blood counts, but is doing great! She is a happy and healthy first-grader surrounded by a loving family. Lydia loves to get dressed up like a princess and can't wait to do so for the 2018 Hope Gala!

The 2018 Leah Still Award for Courage Recipient: The Conner M. Holland Foundation

On January 6th, 2010, Conner was diagnosed with Leukemia at age 3. Initially, Conner’s treatment went well, putting his cancer into remission for over a year. Fifteen months later, his cancer relapsed and his doctors continued treatment. A chemotherapy drug  that was meant to finally cure his cancer instead delivered a devastating brain injury, preventing doctors from pursuing additional curative therapies. Conner passed away on September 4, 2011. He was 5 years old.

Out of this tragedy, the Conner M Holland Foundation was formed to help families in desperate need of financial and emotional support. They aim to relieve families of the financial burdens as they walk the journey of a life threatening illness with their child.                                                                                                     

Hope Gala Mini Events

If you can't join us for the big event in March, we encourage volunteers and supporters to visit some of our wonderful Mini Events throughout the year!

For more information email: