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Image by Jacek Dylag

Most Reverend Michael F. Burbidge & Porto Charities

invite you to join us for


Porto Charities' 1st Annual Advocacy Awards

Embracing Catholic Education & Meaningful Employment for All

Saturday June 24, 2023

Bishop O'Connell High School
Arlington, VA

Mass celebrated by Bishop Burbidge: 5:00 pm

Reception & Dinner: 6:00 pm

Event Information

Tickets & Sponsorships

Join us at the Porto Charities' 1st Advocacy Awards on June 24 at Bishop O'Connell HS. 

Tickets must be purchased in advance. Sponsorship opportunities available.

Online Bidding

Online Auction runs from May 15th, through Friday, June 23 at 6:00pm. All proceeds benefit children and young adults with ID/DD in the Diocese of Arlington. Create an account to begin bidding!

Auction Donations

Donate an item for our Online Awards Auction. 

Online bidding begins May 5, 2023. Support Catholic Education and Meaningful Employment for all.

Raffle Tickets

Buy tickets for the Advocacy Awards Raffle. Enter for a chance to win a week at a sought-after condo in Myrtle Beach, a Lobster Dinner for 8, or a $500 gift card for jewelry. Winner need not be present!

Event Co-Chairs:

Jerry and Pamela Pelano


Steering Committee

Leo Alonso

Carmen Chiappetta

Kathryn Doherty, Nominations Chair

Kim Perry, Auction Chair

Larry Rzepka

Lupita Williamson

Board of Directors:

Leo Alonso, President

Bill Dalgetty, Vice President

John Reidt, Treasurer

Bill Mundy, Secretary

Art Bennett

Patrick Cross

Sheila Earhardt

Christine Fowler

Paul Frommelt

Dave Hoppe

Stew McHie

Fr. Rich Miserendino

Jerry Pelano

Laura Saracina

Tony Stafford

About the Advocacy Awards

Dear Friends in Christ,


Please join us to raise awareness and funding to assist children and young adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities with the opportunity to receive an inclusive Catholic education and meaningful employment. It is Porto Charities’ mission to increase the educational and employment opportunities for these individuals through grants and advocacy programs supporting the Catholic Diocese of Arlington.


More and more diocesan families are looking for these same opportunities for their children, but there are not enough resources available for all Catholic schools and parishes to start or sustain programs that address these needs. 


We invite you to join us in-person on Saturday, June 24, 2023 for Embrace: the 1st Annual Porto Charities Advocacy Awards.  This year we will be honoring the four Diocesan high schools, (Bishop O’Connell, Bishop Ireton, St. John Paul the Great, and St. Paul VI) with special awards for their role as leaders in both inclusive education and meaningful employment.  In addition, Porto Charities Advocacy Awards will be given in three distinct categories recognizing the outstanding effort and impact the recipient has in inspiring an atmosphere of inclusion and belonging for students and young adults: Outstanding Parish/School, Outstanding Educator, and Outstanding Peer Mentor. 


The evening will be a wonderful event that will include Holy Mass celebrated by Bishop Burbidge with a reception and dinner to follow, along with a short awards program, music, and dancing. If you cannot join us, any donation, large or small, would be appreciated; and any sponsorship, large or small, would be greatly appreciated.


We thank you for your commitment to support inclusive Catholic education and employment for all of God’s children. May God continue to bless you and your families, and may the Holy Spirit Embrace you for your generous heart.   


Jerry & Pam Pelano 


Porto Charities Advocacy Awards

Leo Alonso


Porto Charities Board of Directors

Volunteer at the
1st Annual Advocacy Awards in the Diocese of Arlington, VA.

Porto Charities runs with the help of volunteers. At our 1st Annual Advocacy Awards we will need more volunteers than ever to make this event a success. We have several volunteer opportunities, from auction donation solicitation to on-site help, and everything in-between! Please consider donating your time! Email us at:

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