In its 18th year, Reliant Medical Group Foundation’s Drive for a Difference charity auction and golf classic raised a record $530,000 to support its grant making program— breaking the record set just last year.

Held over two days at Pleasant Valley Country Club, the dinner featured a lively auction led by nationally known auctioneer Paul Zekos.  Auction items ranged from exciting trips to London, Tuscany, Buenos Aires and Sonoma wine country, as well as exclusivEppinger Brady shirte local packages, such as Billy Joel at Fenway Park and special outings to professional sporting events.  In addition to actively participating in the live auction, bidders this year raised a record-setting $79,000 for the event’s Fund-A-Need item: Reliant Medical Group’s Home Run Program, which offers care for frail, elderly patients and helps them stay in their homes as they age.

“Many people have to come together to make the Drive for a Differenceevent the success it is,” said Dr. Bill Balcom, Foundation President and co-chair of the event. “This year, our providers, corporate sponsors, volunteers and Trustees all outdid themselves and made this year’s Drive for a Difference our most successful yet.” Foundation Trustee Cynthia Monahan co-chaired the event.

After the exciting auction on Sunday evening, the fundraising efforts continued the following day when a record 220 golfers teed up for the double shotgun-style golf classic, which offered morning and afternoon rounds of golf. A number of local organizations served as top sponsors, including: Reliant Medical Group (Platinum level); Tufts Health Plan and Mirick O’Connell (Gold level); Fallon Health, Harvard Pilgrim Health Care , and Saint Vincent Hospital and MetroWest Medical Center (Crystal level); Leggat McCall Properties (Silver level) and many more.

“Reliant Medical Group Foundation has grown over the years thanks to the annual Drive for a Difference event,” said Tarek Elsawy, MD, President and CEO of Reliant Medical Group. “This growth has been a big factor in helping us support the evolving needs of the communities we serve. That’s why we are so proud to have broken another fundraising record this year.”

Since its inception in 1999, Drive for a Difference has raised more than $4 million to promote health and battle obesity in Central Massachusetts. Proceeds benefit the important work of Reliant Medical Group Foundation’s granting program, including: programs that address serious health conditions including obesity; grants that increase access to healthcare; initiatives to increase the care and comfort of Reliant cancer patients; and support for Reach Out and Read, a national early literacy program implemented at Reliant Medical Group pediatrics and family practice departments.

“Thanks to our foundation staff, great work from our volunteers, plus enthusiastic leadership from our event co-chairs and president, we were able to enjoy another record year,” said Kelsa Zereski, director of philanthropy at Reliant Medical Group. “We’re very proud of this accomplishment and are already looking forward to next year’s Drive for a Difference.”