Fresh Start Woman's Foundation
Fresh Start Woman's Foundation

THE 23RD ANNUAL FRESH START GALA RAISES MORE THAN $1.4 MILLION

March 12, 2019

PHOENIX , AZ– Fresh Start Women’s Foundation hosted the 23rd Annual Fresh Start Gala on Saturday, March 9, 2019 at The Phoenician and raised over $1.4 million dollars. Chaired by Fresh Start Board member and Director of Media Relations for Cox Communications, Andrea Katsenes, guests were treated to a magical evening, while raising awareness for a good cause.

The first Fresh Start Gala began in 1996 as a fashion show evening and has evolved into a much-anticipated black tie event, the organizations largest fundraiser of the year.  In a nod to the Gala’s history, the scene was “fashionably” set as guests were greeted by a life size floral mannequin adorned with thousands of orchids, hydrangeas and delicate butterflies designed by White House Design Studio. Upon entering the cocktail area, Margaret Merritt and the team from Neiman Marcus presented gorgeous, colorful and ornate fashions on raised platforms. Rani G accompanied the cocktail hour with a curated selection of music, and live band kept the party lively and fun.

“It was a true honor to chair the Gala this year and I was so touched by the overwhelming support of our donors and guests that made this a magical evening,” says Event Chair, Andrea Katsenes. “Thanks to the support of our community, Fresh Start will continue to surround Valley women in crisis with support, training and friendship. Lifting these women, lifts their entire family and leads to a thriving community”

While the fashions were fabulous, guests attendance was a testament to the community’s support in raising critical funds to support programs and services at the Jewell McFarland Lewis Fresh Start Women’s Resource Center, a facility that helps nearly 5,000 women annually.   

The special moment of the evening came with the presentation of the prestigious Founders’ Award to philanthropic leader, Cindy Watts. Cindy was led to the stage to roaring applause and a standing ovation.  “The Founders’ Award honors women in the community who have shown a remarkable commitment to helping others thrive and I cannot think of anyone else who has done that quite like Cindy,”says Fresh Start President and CEO, Susan Berman. “Her passion for giving back to those in need is unparalleled and it was our privilege to recognize Cindy for work.”


The evening ended as guests danced the night away to live music by The Hamptons. The funds raised at the black-tie affair will benefit the women that walk through the doors of the Jewell McFarland Lewis Fresh Start Women’s Resource Center. Fresh Start appreciates all sponsors, donors, supporters and board members who helped make the evening special.

For press inquiries and media requests, please contact Katie Selph, Fresh Start Marketing Manager at (602) 261-7166 or kselph@fswf.org.

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To learn more about Fresh Start Women's Foundation and other upcoming events, visit freshstartwomen.org or call 602-252-8494