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‘Notte In Bianco’ raises $350,000 for children’s mental health

Create: 09/19/2016 - 20:45

As Tom Waits once wrote in a song, “Tonight a little rain never hurt anyone.”
For the first time perhaps since the Guzzo family first starting holding their memorable Notte In Bianco fundraisers nine years ago, a little rain did indeed fall last week at their home in Terrebonne north of Montreal, although careful planning assured that no one got wet.
Children’s mental health
Known for their chain of Montreal-area multi-screen movie theatres, Vincent and Maria Guzzo raise $350,000 each year for good causes. For the past few years, the cause has been groundbreaking research into children’s mental health problems in conjunction with McGill University, the Jewish General Hospital and the Shriners Hospital.
Every year, up to 400 guests pay $1,000 a ticket to take part in an event which is now regarded as a must on the Montreal social circuit. White is considered ‘de rigueur’ for the Notte In Bianco dress code. This is partly a tradition the Guzzos decided to bring back to Montreal from Long Island, NY where they’ve spent many summers and where a longstanding tradition is the holding of dress-white social events.
Among the invitees to this year’s fundraiser on Sept. 8 was Canadian film production legend Mel Hoppenheim. And after many years of coming out to support Notte In Bianco, former late night talk show host Sonia Benezra was back again for the 2016 version, along with her agent Barry Garber.
Music by Wilson Phillips
The evening’s special musical guest was Wilson Phillips, an all-female vocal group consisting of Carnie Wilson, Wendy Wilson and Chynna Phillips. It can be said that the three have music in their genes, since Carnie and Wendy are the daughters of Beach Boys co-founder Brian Wilson, while Chynna is the daughter of Michelle Philipps, the co-founder of the Mamas & the Papas.
Starting last year, the Guzzos decided to redirect the family’s charitable energies to support children’s mental health research. One of the aims is to get children to write books for other children while sharing their experiences through the exploration of life lessons. Mental health experts estimate that two out of five children struggle with mental-health related issues.
Philanthropic efforts
As part of their philanthropy, the Guzzo family financed the imaging unit in the Jewish General’s Pavilion K emergency department, the new critical care wing at the hospital. The unit features high-tech, dedicated radiology and tomography rooms. The imaging unit was created to better accommodate patients from the emergency department and to provide a more functional work environment for health professionals.
The unit reduces test wait times for patients in the emergency department, thus shortening the radiology department’s waiting list for patients from external clinics. Prior to the opening of the new imaging unit, 60 per cent of the available time at the JGH’s radiology department was being used by the emergency department, resulting in a very long waiting list for patients from external clinics.

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Martin C. Barry