SUMMIT, NJ - Horses and hats were the toute la rage, but giving back to the community was the driving force as The Connection hosted a highly-successful Kentucky Derby Party at Canoe Brook Country Club. The event raised more than $100,000 to benefit The Connection Scholarship Fund, which exists to insure that everyone can participate in the programs regardless of their economic circumstance.

“We were overwhelmed by and so grateful for the tremendous response to this event,” said Wendy Graeb, The Connection's Executive Director. “It reconfirmed once again how The Connection’s programs are so valued in our community.”

The event was organized by Chairwoman Erika Melchiorre in partnership with her dynamic and dedicated Event Committee, and included dinner and drinks, auction, betting board raffle, a hat contest, DJ, and photo booth.

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The impact is significant, as Graeb noted that, “Last year the Scholarship Fund distributed $275,000 in scholarship assistance to 550 individuals in Connection programs.  We have a rich tradition of providing much needed community service programs to countless individuals, helping to improve the quality of their lives.”

Serving 5,000 individuals each year, The Connection is well known -- and acclaimed for -- its aquatics, fitness, child care and recreation programs.  Classes are offered for all ages, and are filled with girls and boys as young as six months to women and men in their nineties. Programs include English as a Second Language, Pathways, a program for women with breast and gynecological cancer, special needs swimming and recreation for adults and children, after school enrichment and therapeutic fitness programs. 

For more information, including how to make a tax deductible contribution, visit or contact