"Swing into Spring", The Ways and Means to Benefit Martin Luther King Center

Liz Drayton, Judy Terry & Marilyn Warren

It's now an anticipated annual ritual: what comes first, the crocuses or the wildly enjoyable "Swing into Spring " party benefiting the programs of the Dr.Martin Luther King, Jr. Community Center?

This year, the crocuses won, but only by a week or two. With an exuberance and spirit that was simply contagious, throngs of supporters and friends of the MLK Center gathered recently at the Atlantic Beach Club for the 16th annual swinging ritual, combing great food, great music, (this year provided by jazzy local R & B favorite Wayz and Means, and community support .  The band had the joint (a.k.a. the ABC Pavilion) jumping, as wildly competitive bidding on baskets, put together by by Auction Co-Chairs Peggy Clay and Joanne Carlson-Klein of Newport Harbor Corporation,  drove the competitive instincts of guests.

And what would the live auction be without ebullient auctioneer Emlen Drayton? There was lively bidding on such items as The MLK Memorial Experience, featuring a chisel signed and used by MacArthur Genius award winner and Newport’s own stone carver Nick Benson in carving the MLK Memorial, a tour of the historic John Stevens Shop and two nights in Washington DC; and a pair of VIP guest passes to the Oracle Innovation Lounge for the America’s Cup World Series Regatta 2012,  and a year’s worth of pizza, donated by Chris Young of Nikolas Pizza.

Rena Dimuccio, Marilyn Warren & Sister T. with Easter baskets

Marilyn Warren, Executive Director of the MLKCC, welcomed guests to the affair, describing the Center’s vital programs and the need for ongoing support . Sister T. Donach and Rena DiMuccio set up shop at the entrance with voluminous Easter baskets for sale. Inside, Amanda DaCunha plied the floor with mystery balloons for sale, each containing a gift certificate valued at $15 to $50 to a local business. Participants from the Center’s education, hunger and Strong Woman community programming spoke movingly about their life experiences and how the Center makes a difference in their lives.


Board of Trustees President Whitney C. Slade stated “We are deeply grateful to our generous sponsors and donors and and to Board Member and Event Chair Jonna Reed and her dedicated team of staff and volunteers who worked tirelessly to create a fabulous event.”


The buffet table groaned, the roast beef was savory and aromatic. Newport Seen spotted Bud Cicilline, Bart Dunbar, Liz Drayton, Keith Tavares, Jamie Oliver, and a bouquet of the Coriander family, Andrew Kagan, Donna & Jack Maytum, Ronald and Lilly Dick. Kimberly Skeen Jones, in from New York, arrived with Kate Nesbitt. Justin McLaughlin chatted with Cathy Speer, and and Center work/study interns and AmeriCorps Scholarship for Service students of Salve Regina University Giovanna Maiolo and Morgan Rayner were there in support.


"Swing into Spring" benefits the many important programs of the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Community Center. The evening raised over $63,000 to support the Center’s core programs and services.



For information on the programs of the Martin Luther King Community Center, and how you can help, go to www.MLKCC.org



Great live auction items!

Jamie Oliver, Kat Busche, Chair Jonna Reed & Hannah Reed

Bart Dunbar & Bud Cicilline

Furious bidding at the silent auction

A screen showed the programs of the MLKCC

Helping children

Bernadette Ibarra, Laurel Coriander & Chris Brow

Jayson Reid, Rhonda Coriander & Joy Sisca

URI interns Gina Azzolini, Vicki Schiaffo & Dana Yacyk with Liz Drayton

Aggie Perkins & Michael Bavers

Donna Maytum & Victoria Johnson

Fabulous buffet, donated by Atlantic Beach Club

Amanda DaCunha with the "mystery balloons"

Serving up the roast beef

Bud Cicilline puts in a bid

Jane Corcoran, Kitty Rok, Ellen McCall & John Rok

Food pantry at work

Kate Nesbitt & Kimberly Skeen Jones

Al Reynolds, John Murphy & Jamie Hilton

Shirley Cook in a fetching hat

Emlen Drayton, M.C. for the evening, with Ron Dick

Aggie Perkins, Peter Coriander & Lillian Dick

Joanne Carlson-Klein of Newport Harbor Corporation  made up the 

gift baskets

Kate Nesbitt, Leslie Grosvenor & Kimberly Skeen Jones

Wayz & Means played

Ronald Dick makes a bid

Emlen Drayton during the live auction

Lisa Speer-Huet and Cathy Speer chat with MLKCC

Exec. Dir. Marilyn Warren

Americorps Scholarship students Giovanna Maiolo & Morgan Rayner


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