Always Home's HEART TO HEART Gala to Honor Betty and Bill Smith

 Always Home’s HEART TO HEART Gala, honoring long-time supporters Betty and Bill Smith, is Friday, April 21, 2023 at the Mystic Marriott Hotel & Spa. The Gala is the nonprofit social service agency’s primary fundraiser for the year and benefits Always Home’s mission, Preventing Family Homelessness. This year the organization is proud to commemorate 25 years of community service.

“Since our founding in 1998, Always Home has grown from a small grassroots effort to an agency serving upwards of 300 families a year,” said Tricia Cunningham, Always Home’s Executive Director, “Both individually and as a couple, the Smiths were at the heart of our advancement.”  Starting in 2014, Bill served on Always Home’s Board of Directors for 6 years, including two and a half years as President where he oversaw the nonprofit’s rebranding and strategic planning process. Betty volunteered as Gala Chair for three years before joining the Board in 2017. In 2019, she was appointed interim Executive Director, a position that was soon made permanent based on Betty’s outstanding leadership and passion for the mission.

“Because of Betty and Bill, Always Home is in a better position to address the housing crisis we’re facing today,” said Cunningham. “With the rise in rental housing costs, it’s not unusual for low-income families to be paying 50% or more of their monthly paycheck towards housing. For many families, that financial burden is the tipping point into homelessness.” She added, “Our annual HEART TO HEART Gala raises the support we need to keep families stably housed.”
The heart-inspired evening begins at 6 pm and includes a cocktail hour with open bar, three-course gourmet dinner, auctions of unique items and experiences, and dancing to DJ Doug of Power Posse Productions. Cunningham acknowledged the generous support of Heart of Gold Presenting Sponsor, The Whaler’s Inn; Young at Heart Sponsors including Block Island Express, Melinda Elliott Carlisle of Randall Realtors Compass, Foxwoods, Groton Utilities, Mohegan Sun, Mystic Aquarium; Nordson Corporation, Power Posse Productions and Shuta Productions; and numerous other corporate supporters.

This year the Gala Silent Auction is open to the public for bidding. For more information about the gala and to preview and register to bid on auction items, visit
About Always Home
Always Home is a private 501(C)3) non-profit formed in 1998 to address the needs of Eastern Connecticut's homeless and at-risk families. As a key provider in the 2-1-1 Eastern Coordinated Access Network (ECAN), Always Home works closely with the other service providers in the Eastern Connecticut regional network to ensure that at-risk families receive the services they need to attain housing stability. For more information about Always Home, visit