Ellen Vaughan: A Champion of Community Development and Mental Health Advocacy

Ellen Vaughan: A Champion of Community Development and Mental Health Advocacy
Photo Credit: Ellen Vaughan

Ellen Vaughan, the current Chief Development Officer of the Center for Family Services of Palm Beach County, has proved again and again how community dedication coupled with professional expertise can bring transformative changes at a grassroots level. A specialist in nonprofit leadership and fund development, Vaughan’s career spans over two decades, during which she has passionately advocated for families and their well-being. 

Vaughan’s longtime tenure in the non-profit sector speaks volumes of her commitment to the community. Over 20 years of volunteering and working for community causes, Vaughan has focused on structured and sustainable change. With experience in annual fund development, major gift development, planned giving, and leading special events, her dedication to her role at CFS has seen exciting progress for mental health services in Palm Beach County.

One of Vaughan’s most significant achievements is her critical role in the Center for Family Service’s signature fundraising event, the Old Bags Luncheon®. Taking place at the renowned Breakers Palm Beach this year on February 21st, the Luncheon is a highlight of local philanthropy. Not your usual high tea, this event boasts an extraordinary silent auction with a unique and exciting twist, collecting a selection of new or gently used authentic designer handbags. The event is a community highlight, and this year’s installation was sold out more than a month in advance.

But the event’s charm doesn’t stop there. Each year, celebrities grace the breakout luncheon with their appearance and contribute to CFSPBC’s development and growth. Continuing the trend, this year’s event features creative director and co-owner of the iconic brand Judith Leiber, Dee Ocleppo Hilfiger, and fan-favorite celebrity speaker Martha Stewart. With their participation, the Old Bags Luncheon is not merely an auction but an instance of community basking in mutual support, thereby furthering the goals of the center.

A woman of exceptional talent and a steadfast philanthropist, Dee Ocleppo Hilfiger will be gracing the stage at the Luncheon. Having invested in the acclaimed luxury brand Judith Leiber with her husband, Tommy, her role in the fashion industry is as significant as her philanthropic efforts. An advocate for Autism organizations, Ocleppo Hilfiger’s presence is not just about brand extension but about outreach to those requiring support at an individual and familial level; as passionate about the cause as Vaughan herself, Ocleppo Hilfiger’s presence adds to the event’s gravity and appeal.

Similarly, Vaughan’s own affiliations further endorse her commitment. Her recent inclusion as a member of the Leadership Palm Beach County Engage Class of 2024 and her membership with the Planned Giving Council of Palm Beach County testifies to the trust she instills and the networks she nourishes for the betterment of her community.

Under her influence, the Center for Family Services has seen corporate giants partnering for events and sponsorships, with past event collaborators including Saks Fifth Avenue, YVEL, Tiffany & Co., and Palm Beach Media Group. Vaughan’s outreach extends not only to these industry titans but to anyone who wishes to extend their support for the Old Bags Luncheon, offering potential sponsors exposure to the Center’s guest list and the community at large.

Ellen Vaughan’s record is a testament to her unwavering dedication to community development, mental health advocacy, and family services. Her work sends a resounding message of compassion and commitment to the broader community and those who wish to contribute to a more flourishing future for Palm Beach County. Through her leadership, the Center for Family Services forges towards a better tomorrow, one designer bag at a time.

Visit the CTRFAM website and social media for more information: https://ctrfam.org/

Published by: Aly Cinco


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