Annual AOF Gala Breaks Fundraising, Attendance Records

October 26, 2015

Over $350,000 Pledged at Honors 2015

ORLANDO—The American Osteopathic Foundation (AOF) celebrated excellence in the osteopathic medical profession during Honors 2015 at the Hilton-Orlando on Oct. 16.   More than 600 people attended the annual fundraising event, which returned to the city where it all began ten years ago and set an event fundraising record for the AOF.

“Honors has nearly tripled in size since our first black-tie dinner at OMED in Orlando in 2005.  Today, it’s our biggest fundraiser of the year.  It’s also a special time to come together as a profession and celebrate our stars, and remember those no longer with us,” said Stephen S. Downey, CAE, CFRE, AOF Executive Director.

With 24 colleges of osteopathic medicine reserving three-fourths of the tables, event attendees included students, residents, leaders and profession luminaries, including AOF Lifetime Achievement Award recipient, Murray S. Goldstein, DO; AOF Physician of the Year, Craig Dietz, DO; and the W. Douglas Ward AOF Educator of the Year, J. Michael Finley, DO; among dozens of other award winners also recognized.

Honorary co-chairs John W. Becher, DO, president of the American Osteopathic Association, and his wife Paula, along with Janet Burns, PT, Advocates of the AOA president and her husband Ronald Burns, DO, kicked off the festivities with a toast, which was followed by a welcome from William T. Betz, DO, AOF Board president and Master of Ceremony.

To mark the 15th anniversary of the William G. Anderson, DO Minority Scholarship, the AOF aimed to raise $60,000 at Honors 2015. Audience members donated nearly $100,000 via text pledges to Mobile Cause, broadcast on screens throughout the evening, and an additional $250,000 was donated by AOF Board Member Jeff Heatherington, LHD (Hon.) president and CEO of FamilyCare, Inc. in Portland, Oregon.

A special video featuring testimonials from two past scholarship recipients and highlighting Dr. Anderson’s leadership role in the Civil Rights Movement and as the first African-American president of AOA was shown.  

Dr. Anderson’s daughter, DeeDee Anderson-Hill, DO, provided a moving tribute to her father and read a letter he wrote to Dr. King, accepting a position with the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. The letter, framed with historical photos of Dr. King and Dr. Anderson, was made available to individual donors of $2,000 or more and institutional donors of $5,000 or more. To donate to the scholarship, visit

The night was capped by a special Distinguished Service Award given to Darrell Lynn Grace, DO, chair for community outreach for the National Osteopathic Medical Association, responsible for organizing NOMA-sponsored and AOF-supported health fairs for the homeless in the host city of OMED for the past 10 years. 

For more information on award winners or to donate to the William G. Anderson, DO Minority Scholarship, visit