Good times for a good cause was the theme of the 11th Annual Smith Group Tax & Wealth Advisors Mardi Gras Party, held in March at Newberry Hall.

The event raised more than $17,000 for the Children’s Place Inc. parenting outreach program, “Families Matter.”

“We were overwhelmed by the generosity and enthusiasm of our guests,” said Pearline Smith, Smith Group Tax & Wealth Advisors co-owner. “How nice that we can have such a good time and raise money for a program that is so valuable to our community.”

Last year’s event raised $15,000 for the Families Matter program. One reason for the event’s fundraising success is because The Smith Group absorbs all event expenses – from the cost of the food and decorations to the band and venue fees.

According to Peggy Ford, Children’s Place Inc. director, the Families Matter program was established through a partnership with Growing Home Southeast and the S.C. Department of Social Services, and it’s goal is to reach out to struggling families in the Aiken area.

“We are ecstatic that we have been able to serve every family that has been referred to us to date,” said Ford. “The funds from this event will ensure we can continue this important work of preventing child abuse and strengthening families in our community.”

The event’s raffle and silent auction generated more than $4,800 of the funds raised and was due to donations from many local businesses, including Advanced Services for Pest Control, Aiken’s Unique Giftique, Andrew Siders, Bronze Body, Cannon House Florist & Gifts, Caroline’s Boutique, Carolina Star, Changes Day Spa, Concept HR/Chad Matthews, Discount Beverage Mart LLC, Dunkin Donuts, Floyd & Green Jewelers, Grice’s Butcher Shop, HBC Builder’s/Jeff Hudson, J. Lloyd Photography, Kent’s Korner, Lionel Smith Ltd., Newberry Hall, Osbon’s Cleaners, Outback Steakhouse, The Palmetto Groove Band, Parkway Package, Pat’s Sub Shop, Pink Pineapple Photography, Plum Pudding, Prime Steakhouse, Publix, The Red Pepper, Southside Gallery, Steve & Brenda Piccolo, The South Company, Studio South/Stephanie Reese, Tea Garden Gifts and The Willcox.