ABCD’s 5th Annual “Buona Sera” Fundraiser a Great Success

Where do Boston’s Bruins and Celtics legends go? To ABCD of course! Here’s the tall and the short of it as former Celtics star Satch Sanders centers the group and Bruins alum Rick Middleton holds down his end at the 5th Annual Buona Sera fundraiser for ABCD’s North End/West End Neighorhood Service Center. The event raised $50,000 to aid the “hidden poor” struggling to pay for rent and necessities in the now-affluent neighborhoods they have always called home. (l-r) Rick Middleton, North End/West End NSC Fundraising Chair Rebecca Mattson, Professional Chef Jen Royle, Satch Sanders, ABCD Executive Vice President Sharon Scott-Chandler, North End/West End NSC Director Maria Stella Gulla and Converse CEO Jim Calhoun.

ABCD’s North End/West End Neighborhood Service Center fundraising celebration Buona Sera: An Evening with Friends raised nearly $50,000 to aid low-income and elderly residents of the North End and West End who turn to the center for assistance.

NSC Director Maria Stella Gulla, who grew up in the North End, and all agency staff express thanks to the generous sponsors, restaurants, celebrity hosts and wine donors who made it possible. “We are very grateful for the outstanding support and so glad everyone enjoyed themselves at the wine reception and restaurants! We look forward to next year and doubling the funds raised!” Gulla said.

“I have come to this event all five years and have never enjoyed a fundraising event more,” one dinner guest declared.

Don Chiofaro, Founder of the Chiofaro Company; Stefano Gulla; Maria Stella Gulla, Director, ABCD North End/West End NSC; Francesco Gulla; and Christina Gulla

ABCD President/CEO John J. Drew also thanked all those whose generosity and hard work made the fundraiser a success. “Everyone loves Boston’s North End,” he said. “But many people don’t realize that behind the tourists and restaurants and cobblestone streets, there are longtime neighborhood residents struggling to survive. Buona Sera raises the curtain on critical needs and makes us all aware of the resources necessary for people to continue to live in the neighborhoods they have always called home.”

The Buona Sera evening kicked off with a wine reception at Wilmer Hale on the 26th floor of 60 State Street, followed by dinner at a table for 10 at one of several premiere North End restaurants. Each table was paired with a local celebrity – an elected or public official, sports figure, media celebrity or other well-known local personality. All who participated enjoyed a perfect fall evening on the town, along with sparkling conversation with their celebrity host!

“Since 2011 this innovative event has raised over $150,000 for educational and recreational programs and human services that the center offers,” said Gulla.   “Here in the North End and West End, where everyone sees affluence, there are thousands of ‘hidden poor,’ many of whom have lived in the neighborhood their whole lives and who wish to spend their remaining years in the place they love most. They come to our two food pantries and sit down for our hot meals; we help them access benefits and get needed health care. We provide translation services and fuel assistance and many other services. We need to raise money to keep these services going. This year we have hired a new cook for the twice-weekly meal program, replaced outdated computer equipment, painted the center and hired two full-time case managers to serve an elderly population that is well into their 80s and 90s and struggling to make ends meet.”

Dan Wilson, Advisory Board Chairman ABCD North End/West End NSC; Sharon Scott-Chandler, Executive Vice President, ABCD; Maria Stella Gulla, Director, ABCD North End/West End NSC

“We decided to shake things up to commemorate Buona Sera in our 5th year by having it in October to kick-off Italian Heritage Month,” said Rebecca Mattson, Fundraising Chair for the NE/WE NSC. “What could be better than dinner in the North End with ten of your friends and colleagues around your table? And the fun of meeting a celebrity one-on-one? But it even exceeded our expectations as participants raved about the evening well after it was over.”

The NE/WE NSC thanks their Table Patrons: Trinity Financial; The Architectural Team; Avalon Bay Communities; Boston Properties; CBT/Childs Bertman Tseckares; Cottonwood Management; Equity Residential; HYM Investment Group; John Moriarty & Associates; Andrés Molina and Rick D’Angelo; and Related Beal.

They also thank their Celebrity Hosts: Master of Ceremonies Former Sports Reporter and Professional Chef Jen Royle; Senator Sal DiDomenico; Representative Jay Livingstone; Representative Aaron Michlewitz; City Council Vice President Salvatore La Mattina; BRA Director Brian Golden; Converse CEO Jim Calhoun; Bruins Alumni Rick Middleton; and Boston Celtics 2011 Hall-of-Famer “Satch” Sanders, who deserves special recognition for participating all five years!

The NSC is very grateful to the generous Restaurant Hosts whose support made this event possible: Antico Forno; Aria Trattoria; Artu Boston; Bricco Ristorante; Cantina Italiana; La Famiglia Giorgio’s; Gennaro’s 5 North Square; Lucia Ristorante; Prezza; Ristorante Euno; Ristorante Saraceno; Terramia; Vinoteca di Monica; and Ward 8.

Special appreciation also goes out to Wine Reception sponsors Wilmer Hale for hosting the reception; local North End merchants Cirace Liquors and Hanover Wine and Liquors and the Gulla Group in Medford for generously donating the wine; and donors Anderson & Krieger; DiCicco Gulman&Company; Eagle Bank; and Star Market Prudential.

For more information about ABCD go to or call 617-523-8125.