Gambling for a good cause: Locals raise thousands for Bay Ridge do-good group at casino fund-raiser

Brooklyn Paper
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All bets are off: Locals — including Community Board 13 district manager Eddie Mark, center — gathered around the blackjack table.
Come one, come all: Jack Spadaro manned the roulette table at the event.
Card game: Maria Ottombrio visited the “Let It Ride” poker table at the event.
Happy couple: The Guild for Exceptional Children’s associate executive director for business services, Joseph Riley, enjoyed the festivities with his wife Kim.
In it to win it: Event attendees gathered around one of the poker tables for a game.

It was a lucky night for this local do-good group!

Kings Countians raised thousands for the Bay Ridge–based Guild for Exceptional Children by playing their favorite casino games during a recent fund-raiser at Coney Island restaurant Gargiulo’s. Guild supporters packed the lively soiree, proceeds from which will help the 60-year-old group continue its efforts to serve Brooklynites living with developmental disabilities, according to an attendee.

“It was a fun night for friends, family, and neighbors who came out to support the mission of the Guild,” said Sheepshead Bay resident Jack Spadaro, whose son attends a daily rehabilitation program at the Guild.

Guests of the Jan. 25 event included such local leaders as former state Sen. Marty Golden and Community Board 13 District Manager Eddie Mark, and all the guys and dolls in attendance used Monopoly money to play the games, which included poker, blackjack, slot machines, and a roulette table.

Organizers collected $5,000 from the ticket sales and other donations, cash that will help pay for renovations to the Guild’s 68th Street headquarters as well as to its neighborhood community homes for adults with disabilities, according to the do-good group’s Director of Development Caroline Manusetto.

Events like the casino night help Manusetto and other Guild leaders secure the money they need to keep up its work, while educating residents about the group’s mission of community service, she said.

“Philanthropy is very critical at this moment in time, and special events give us the ability to raise additional funds as well as present our mission of care,” Manusetto said. “It gives us an opportunity to bring forth our mission to new friends and new donors.”

And Spadro agreed, noting his favorite part of the evening was raising awareness for the Guild by sharing stories with other guests about how its programs have helped his son.

“He’s able to transition better when it comes to traveling, when it comes to communication, when it comes to hopefully getting out,” Spadaro said. “Our goal is to get him independent, and they’re working towards that goal.”

Reach reporter Julianne McShane at (718) 260–2523 or by e-mail at Follow her on Twitter @juliannemcshane.
Updated 2:04 pm, February 1, 2019
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