Bianca’s Kids honors nine donors for nine years of service

Debbie Savigliano, left, presents Chris Balka with her community hero award for her work with Bianca’s Kids at the inaugural Gala on Oct. 26. Savigliano said Balka has donated more than $200,000 worth of clothes, winter coats, sports equipment and shoes through her work at Aeropostale. (Pam Smith Photography)

Bianca’s Kids has granted countless wishes for people of all ages — specifically foster, sick and needy children — over the past nine years. Though the Williamstown-based nonprofit has been successful, founder Debbie Savigliano felt it was time for something new.

The result was the inaugural Bianca’s Kids 2019 Community Hero Awards, given by Savigliano to the nine biggest and most influential donors since the nonprofit’s birth in 2010.

“Without these donors and our corporate sponsors, our work is just not possible,” noted Savigliano, who began the nonprofit to honor a niece killed in a car accident. “There have been some people that have been with us from the beginning and we really felt it was time to celebrate them.”

Savigliano said the nine honorees come from all walks of life. A lawyer, a representative from the Philadelphia Eagles, a mechanic and a marketing director from Chick-fil-A were honored at an Oct. 26 gala at the Estate at Monroe on the Black Horse Pike. The nine honorees were integral to her nonprofit’s impact across the country and as far as London and Australia, according to Savigliano.

The gala was about giving back to those who made her dream a reality.

“It was nice to finally say thank you,” Savigliano said. “Everybody is fighting for that ever-shrinking dollar in donations, so when someone trusts me with their money and allows me to honor my niece’s memory by granting these wishes, I’m eternally grateful to them.

“Sometimes thank you isn’t enough. The evening was amazing.”

In attendance at the gala was Bianca’s Kids first viral sensation, a young Eagles fan named Giovanni Hamilton known for a Twitter video of Carson Wentz that garnered 3.4 million views.  Bianca’s Kids granted Giovanni’s wish to meet Wentz earlier this year at training camp, and the rest is history. The Pennsylvania resident spoke at the gala and was awarded a shining star award for giving Bianca’s Kids its first viral video.

While Giovanni’s video is the first of its kind, Savigliano is active on social media and credits it with her nonprofit’s popularity.

“You can see your donation dollars at work,” she said. “When you share these things on Facebook, it can inspire others to do the same thing.”

At the end of the day, Savigliano acknowledged that while she and the board of directors are the face of the nonprofit, they need to acknowledge the donors’ work. Without donors and corporate sponsors such as Chick-fil-A, Innovative Orthodontics, ShopRite and the Estate at Monroe, it would be impossible to achieve what the organization does best.

“Nobody knows about them,” she said of her donors. “I think it’s important for us to show our gratitude to them, and while the world doesn’t see them like they see us on social media, we wanted to give them the recognition they deserve.”

For more information about Bianca’s Kids visit the website biancaskids.org, or the  Facebook page “Bianca’s Kids.”