St. Louis CEOs Cha Cha for Mental Illness


St. Louis CEOs Cha Cha for Mental Illness

Fundraising Dance Competition to Benefit Independence Center 

WHAT: Dancing with the St. Louis Stars, a benefit for Independence Center
WHEN: Saturday, January 23, 2016
WHERE:     The Ritz-Carlton, St. Louis, 100 Carondelet Plaza, St. Louis 63105
TICKETS: $250 Ticket / $2,500 Table – Includes cocktails, dinner, ballroom dance competition and dancing for guests. Purchase tickets online at or call (314)880-5403
VOTE NOW: Each dancer will campaign to fundraise votes (1 vote = $10) via the website to determine who will be the next Dance Champion!

ST. LOUIS, MO – (October 6, 2015) The fun-fundraiser that kicks off the New Year is coming back! Independence Center is proud to present the eighth annual Dancing with the St. Louis Stars, along with a stellar line-up of dancers. Culminating months of practice and preparation, St. Louis’ own will light up the city in an entertaining dance competition on January 23 at the Ritz-Carlton. The gala will benefit Independence Center, a St. Louis nonprofit committed to restoring the lives of adults with severe and persistent mental illness. Dancing with the St. Louis Stars has received a reputation for being known as the “fun” fundraiser for everything it does NOT offer. No long program, auction or endless tables of raffle prizes. Guests will indulge in an evening of energetic dancing, fabulous food, and unforgettable entertainment all in an effort to bring awareness to mental illness and the services saving lives at Independence Center.

This year’s St. Louis stars who have signed on to compete include Todd Bastean, chief executive officer of Bunge North AmericaRhonda Brandon, senior vice president and chief human resources officer at BJC HealthCareJulie Van Etten, civic leader sponsored by ScottradeThomas O’Meara, principal, chairman of the board and managing partner at Moneta GroupPenny Pennington, principal at Edward JonesTim Wentworth, president of Express Scripts; and Marco Mino, a member and program participant of Independence Center. Each of these notable leaders has received recognition for their efforts in the realms of business and philanthropy. This year, Marco Mino, and Independence Center member will represent the 1,500 people living with mental illness who seek recovery through Independence Center every year.

Tom Minogue, chairman of Thompson Coburn, and his wife Rebecca are the Honorary Chairs and Claire Kellett of Great Day St. Louis is returning as emcee. Just Dancing Ballroom Dance Studio, Just Dancing West, Discover Ballroom, and Convergence Dance & Body Center provide the instructors to choreograph the dance routines and they include Lucy Fitzgerald, Michael Fitzgerald, Robert McKenney, Stephanie Medeiros, David Scherer, Emily Scherer, and Robin Wentworth.

Celebrity judges for the competition include Dancing alumni Dr. Benjamin Ola. Akande, president of Westminster CollegeNicole Genovese, sales associate at Genovese JewelersCynthia Mercer, senior vice president of human resources at Mercy; and Mark Trudeau, president and chief executive officer of Mallinkcrodt Pharmaceuticals.

Dancers will campaign for votes via the website and the couple that raises the most votes (1 vote = $10) will be named Dance Champions! Guests will get a chance to vote during the event and at the end of the night. Independence Center will award Dance Champions (couple that raises the most votes), Dancing MVPs (couple that raises the most support via votes, sponsorships, etc.), Judges’ Favorite and Crowd Favorite.

St. Louis, get ready for another fabulous evening of dining and dancing the night away as our community leaders champion for mental illness!

Our current event sponsors include Edward Jones, Emerson, Esse Health, Scottrade, Video Views and FLIP Services.

About Independence Center

Proceeds from Dancing with the St. Louis Stars will help Independence Center continue the mission of providing a comprehensive system of high quality programs and services that assists adults in the St. Louis metropolitan area with serious and persistent mental illnesses to live and work in the community, independently and with dignity.

To accomplish its mission, the Center promotes rehabilitation and employment, provides educational, wellness, social and housing opportunities and offers training in its approach to community based care.

In collaboration with Barnes-Jewish Hospital and the BJC HealthCare system, the Center also provides clinical and case management services.

For more information, contact:

Jamie Clark, Director of Development

(314)880-5403 (office)