2020 Benefit Gala

Cornerstone of Hope’s 17th Annual Gala was held on February 22, 2020 at The Embassy Suites-Rockside Road, in Independence.  The Gala featured raffles, a live auction, silent auction, and amazing food and entertainment. Our evening was dedicated to honoring Anne and Ben Ali, our Champions of Hope, who have faithfully supported Cornerstone of Hope since 2009.

Thank you to everyone for their hard work and dedication to Cornerstone of Hope’s Annual Benefit Gala. We are beyond grateful for all the sponsors, donors, board members, volunteers and attendees for making the 17th Annual Benefit Gala a success. Because of your generosity we are able to continue to working toward our mission of Creating a World Where No Grieving Person Journeys Alone.

2020 Champions of Hope: Anne and Ben Ali

I recently heard a sermon about gratitude that I want to share with you. It was a simple message, but so profound in its depth and meaning: “God’s gift to you is your life, what you do with your life is your gift to God.”

Our 2020 Champion of Hope recipients, Ann and Ben Ali, live this sermon each and every day in all the roles they serve as business owners, a married couple, parents, and children of God. Their initial decision to support our ministry in itself was an act of service. I remember reviewing the registration list for our 2007 Gala and asking our committee, “Who secured the Royal Landscape Ali family sponsorship?” Nobody responded. I would like to tell you that the sponsorship came from an inspirational presentation, a good first impression, or a connection through a mutual friend or business partner. On the contrary, Ann and Ben’s desire to make an impact was 100% initiated in their hearts and is their witness of living their lives as a gift for others.

Over the years, Cornerstone of Hope has expressed our deep appreciation to the Ali family. Ann and Ben are quick to redirect any accolades and consistently respond, “We are blessed and happy to support you!” This is a drastic understatement. Their willingness and generosity has only grown stronger. The Ali family business, Royal Landscaping, has taken great pride in maintaining the beautiful grounds of Cornerstone of Hope’s Bereavement Center in Independence for several years. In addition to maintaining 4.5 acres, the Ali’s crew have provided the equipment, materials, and human resources to all major beautification projects including a lighted treehouse path, ground preparation for the children’s playground, and most recently, completing the outdoor counseling gazebo and Stations of the Cross garden areas.

We are humbled to have received such amazing support. The Ali’s expertise truly provides a sacred landscape for our clients during their grief journey. We are proud and excited to recognize Ann and Ben Ali as Cornerstone of Hope’s 2020 Champion of Hope honorees. – Mark Tripodi

Learn more about Royal Landscaping by visiting royalcompanies.net.

Special Thanks

Gala Chair – Missy Hayes

Gala Committee – Laura Filippi, Jennifer Gramlich, Becky Manelski, Terri Schreiber, Carrie Sears, Traci Ward, Lisa Woods

Mistress of Ceremonies – Kim Scott-Sowinski (Producer/Announcer)

Master of Ceremonies – Robert Smith

Celebrity Auctioneer – Ed Pfister III



The funds raised from our 2017 Annual Benefit Gala have been designated to support Accidental Overdose Programs, providing support to grieving individuals and families affected by overdose.