2024 Magic of Life Gala Raises $3.7 Million to Support LifeBridge Health


Health System Honors Annette and Joe Cooper with Lifetime of Philanthropy Award at One of Area’s Top Fundraising Events That Benefits Patients, Programs and Services


Award Winning Actress and Singer Lea Michele Along with Special Guest Skylar Astin Headline the Prestigious Evening at Sagamore Farm


Baltimore – The LifeBridge Health 2024 Magic of Life Gala celebrating team members, executives, physicians, partners, patients, donors and board members for their commitment to upholding the organization’s “Care Bravely” credo raised $3.7 million during the biennial event.


The gala on Saturday, April 13 at 5:30 pm at Sagamore Farm featured a program highlighting the life-changing care provided by nearly 14,000 team members across the health system.


LifeBridge Health presented the “Lifetime of Philanthropy” award to Annette and Joe Cooper in recognition of their decades of service and leadership.


Joe Cooper is referred to as the “Father of Philanthropy” at LifeBridge Health because he started asking his friends to support Sinai Hospital in the early 1990s – even before the hospital had a development team.  The first gala in 1998 was Cooper’s idea and was chaired by Bean Sibel and his wife Carol (of Blessed Memory).   Since then, LifeBridge Health has hosted 13 galas, including this year’s celebration - generating more than $39 million for LifeBridge Health patients and services across the region.  

“With such a momentous occasion, we are excited to honor the Coopers, a powerhouse couple who are pillars of the community raising vital funds to support programs and services at LifeBridge Health that benefit our patients, our caregivers and our communities,” says LifeBridge Health president & CEO Neil Meltzer.

The co-chairs of this year’s esteemed gala were Dr. Don Abrams and Dr. Jason Kissel, and Leslie and Joe Schaller. The 2024 chairs are a Who’s Who in the Maryland business community, heading successful companies in a variety of industries. They came together to bring their expertise and talents to lead the largest fundraising gala event in the Baltimore area.


Dr. Abrams is the chief of ophthalmology at Sinai Hospital and leads LifeBridge Health’s Krieger Eye Institute. Dr. Jason Kissel is the minister of music & arts at First & Franklin Presbyterian Church in Mt. Vernon and instructor of music theory at Baltimore School for the Arts.


Leslie Schaller is a member of the Sinai Hospital board of directors and was vice president of the Bond Distributing Company. She and her husband Joe, general counsel and vice president of Obrecht Properties, have also been long-time supporters of LifeBridge Health with deep familial connections to Sinai hospital. Ms. Schaller’s mother, Ronnie Footlick, is a LifeBridge Health board member and former chair of the Sinai board who was recognized at the gala during the video program for her four+ decades of service to the organization. In yet another LifeBridge Health connection, Tommy Obrecht, owner of Obrecht Properties, chaired the Magic of Life Gala in 2008.


The Magic of Life Gala began more than 20 years ago and has since earned the distinction of being the one of largest single-day nonprofit fundraisers in the Greater Baltimore area, raising crucial dollars for Sinai Hospital, Northwest Hospital, Carroll Hospital, Levindale and Grace Medical Center. The 2022 gala brought in a record $4 million to support the programs and services across LifeBridge Health.


Guests enjoyed a cocktail reception, dinner, and dessert reception with a performance by Lea Michele and special guest Skylar Astin.


Lea Michele is an award-winning actress, singer and New York Times best-selling author. She is best known for her role as Rachel Berry on Ryan Murphy’s critically acclaimed, Golden Globe- and SAG Award-winning TV series Glee. In 2010, Michele was honored with an Emmy nomination for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series and a Golden Globe nomination for Best Television Actress- Comedy.


Skylar Astin is an American actor. He became known for portraying Jesse Swanson in the musical films Pitch Perfect and Pitch Perfect 2. He originated the role of Georg in the Broadway musical Spring Awakening and has since appeared in films such as Hamlet 2, Taking Woodstock, Cavemen, and 21 & Over. He is currently starring in the television series “So Help Me Todd” alongside Marcia Gay Harden.

About LifeBridge Health

LifeBridge Health consists of Sinai Hospital of Baltimore, Northwest Hospital, Carroll Hospital, Levindale, Grace Medical Center and subsidiaries and affiliates, including LifeBridge Health & Fitness. Sinai, Northwest and Carroll hospitals are acute-care general hospitals with complementary clinical centers of excellence.  For more information, visit www.lifebridgehealth.org.