Gala helps fu­ture women in pol­i­tics

Kutz­town fam­ily hosts fundraiser for Emerge Penn­syl­va­nia

The Kutztown Area Patriot - - FRONT PAGE - By Laura E. Quain

Guests filled Kutz­town Fire Com­pany’s Ban­quet Hall to dance the night away on Feb. 11 to ben­e­fit Demo­cratic women in pol­i­tics.

The fundrais­ing event was or­ga­nized my Kutz­town cou­ple Derek and Karise Mace, along with their three daugh­ters, Ju­lia, Evie and Mered­ith, to fundraise for Emerge Penn­syl­va­nia, a na­tional re­cruit­ment or­ga­ni­za­tion that trains and men­tors Demo­cratic women to run for of­fice at the lo­cal, state and fed­eral lev­els. The fam­ily had orig­i­nally booked the hall to host an in­au­gu­ral ball for Hil­lary Clin­ton, had she been sworn into of­fice Jan. 20.

“Af­ter Hil­lary Clin­ton lost, I re­al­ized that for some rea­son, our coun­try isn’t quite ready for a woman pres­i­dent, I wanted to do this for my daugh­ters, for my mother and for women ev­ery­where,” said Karise.

Ac­cord­ing to Karise, her daugh­ters were dis­traught by the loss but still wanted to find some­thing to cel­e­brate. The three Mace daugh­ters had the idea to in­stead host a fundrais­ing event.

“I’ve been look­ing for­ward to this event for for­ever, ever since we were go­ing to host an in­au­gu­ral ball for Hil­lary Clin­ton,” said Ju­lia. She and her two sis­ters were large com­po­nents in the fundrais­ing event.

The event was well-at­tended, with the en­try fee be­ing a sug­gested do­na­tion to Emerge PA, ta­bles set around the ban­quet hall were scant­ily filled as many of the guests in at­ten­dance chose to dance and en­joy the DJ and those around them, rather than sit.

“You’ve got 6 year olds and you’ve got peo­ple in their 60s all danc­ing to­gether, I think this is great,” said Kutz­town res­i­dent An­drew Arnold, one of the guests in at­ten­dance.

Guests took the oc­ca­sion as a rea­son to dress up, many worn tuxes and long gowns to com­mem­o­rate Demo­cratic women in pol­i­tics.

Guests ranged from young to old. From the Mace daugh­ters’ friends from school and stu­dents from Kutz­town Univer­sity, at­tend­ing to sup­port their pro­fes­sors, to pub­lic fig­ures and Kutz­town res­i­dents look­ing to sup­port the cause.

“My wife and I like to do things, if there’s a train of peo­ple off to Paris, we want to be on it. If we can get a group of happy faces in a room, hav­ing a great time for a great cause, we want to do it. When Hil­lary didn’t win, we still wanted to do some­thing, so we did it,” said Derek Mace.

Kutz­town Univer­sity stu­dent, Tr­isha Gil­lott, was in­vited to the event by the Mace fam­ily af­ter par­tic­i­pat­ing in a study abroad trip that Derek or­ga­nized.

“I think it’s re­ally im­por­tant to ad­vo­cate for women. There’s not a lot of women in pol­i­tics. It’s the lit­tle things like this event that can re­ally make a dif­fer­ence,” said Gil­lott.

Also on the guest list was Yvonne Fonte, of Berks County Demo­cratic Women.

One of the many guests in at­ten­dance was a sur­prise to the Mace fam­ily, State Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Mary Jo Daley, who is a co­founder of Emerge PA. Daly heard about the event from Fonte, and was shocked that she knew noth­ing about the event or the fam­ily who was rais­ing money for Emerge PA.

“I can’t tell you how ex­cited we are just to be able to say thank you for help­ing us to grow,” said Daley. “We are in an im­por­tant time, and you are re­ally help­ing us achieve some­thing great. Thank you so much for sup­port­ing us and for hav­ing a great time while do­ing it.”

Daley proudly an­nounced that one of the Emerge PA grad­u­ates, Carolyn Comitta, is now serv­ing as a state rep­re­sen­ta­tive from Chester County af­ter chal­leng­ing an in­cum­bent Repub­li­can for his seat.

“We are so thrilled to have her join us in Har­ris­burg,” said Daley.

Also in at­ten­dance was Kutz­town res­i­dent Ara­bel El­liott, who is run­ning for Kutz­town Bor­ough Coun­cil this year. El­liott proudly thanked all in at­ten­dance for their sup­port.

“Never doubt that a small group of com­mit­ted cit­i­zens can change the world,” said El­liott.

The Mace fam­ily learned about Emerge PA from friend and col­league, Kutz­town res­i­dent and Kutz­town Univer­sity pro­fes­sor Erin Kraal. Kraal was in­volved with the “51% Pro­ject,” which ad­vo­cates that women make up 51 per­cent of the pop­u­la­tion; there­fore they should make up 51 per­cent of gov­ern­ment.

“I re­ally thought of do­ing more to get women in of­fice so I did some web searches and found Emerge PA,” said Kraal.

The event served as a so­cial fundrais­ing event, as well as an op­por­tu­nity to net­work with those around, as Derek Mace en­cour­aged all in at­ten­dance to do. Guests were treated with com­pli­men­tary re­fresh­ments and had ac­cess to a cash bar.

Raf­fles were avail­able for most of the night, giv­ing guests the op­por­tu­nity to win items such as home­brewed beer or items from Young Ones Records.

Emerge PA was founded in 2015, and be­gan the next year. The first grad­u­at­ing class had 22 women in it. This year’s class has risen to 25. Emerge will as­sist trainees with every­thing from pub­lic speak­ing to cul­tural com­pe­tency and eth­i­cal lead­er­ship.

The event was well-at­tended, with the en­try fee be­ing a sug­gested do­na­tion to Emerge PA, ta­bles set around the ban­quet hall were scant­ily filled as many of the guests in at­ten­dance chose to dance and en­joy the DJ and those around them, rather than sit.


The Mace fam­ily of Kutz­town hosted a night of danc­ing at a fundrais­ing Gala held at Kutz­town Fire Com­pany on Feb. 11. The event ben­e­fits Emerge Pa to help fu­ture women in pol­i­tics.


Derek Mace (mid­dle) stands with Sher­rie (left) and Yvonne Fonte of Berks Demo­cratic Women (right). Mace and his wife Karise and their three daugh­ters or­ga­nized a Gala on Feb. 11 to raise funds for Emerge Pa to help women in pol­i­tics.


Yvonne Fonte of Berks Demo­cratic Women at­tended the Gala on Feb. 11 that raised funds for Emerge Pa.

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