June 2019 Writer \/\/ Janelle Morrison Photography \/\/ Submitted We live in an uber-connected world, and today\u2019s fast-paced environment requires mutually beneficial partnerships to leverage resources and creative solutions that sometimes serve beyond the marketplace and into the nonprofit sector. The publishers of Carmel Monthly and I are honored to have partnered with Tony\u2019s Steaks and Seafood of Indianapolis and Carmel Travel Company on a unique and creative way to bring like-minded folks together for a delectable dinner and wine-pairing experience that will benefit the Carmel Clay Public Library Foundation. Tony Ricci Later this month, Tony Ricci, owner at Tony\u2019s, and his remarkable staff will host 25 individuals who have purchased tickets to the first of four themed dinner and wine-pairing events to be held at Tony\u2019s Steaks and Seafood of Indianapolis. The proceeds will go to the CCPL Foundation, which in turn will be used to support the Carmel Clay Public Library\u2019s digest of expansive programs for library members of all ages. The idea was conceived one festive winter evening while my husband and I were enjoying another mind-blowing meal at Tony\u2019s along with our dear friends, Melisa and Todd Keiser. Melisa owns Carmel Travel Company and sits on the board of directors for the CCPL Foundation. After conversing with Michael Morgan, general manager at Tony\u2019s of Indianapolis, we had developed a plan to host a tasting event as a fundraiser for the library foundation and planned to meet with Ricci, Neil Lucas (publisher of Carmel Monthly),and Morgan to pitch the idea to Ricci. Ricci\u2019s reputation, generosity and support for community institutions such as libraries precedes him. Having said that, we did not expect that he would open his restaurant for not just one dinner and pairing event but for one each quarter of the year (4 total events), of which 100% of the proceeds will benefit the CCPL Foundation. When asked why the fundraiser for the foundation was an important cause to be involved in, he explained that as a young immigrant who came over in the \u201970s from Italy to Cincinnati, he did not have access to the types of support systems that exist today. \u201cI had to use a library in order to learn English,\u201d Ricci shared. \u201cI had to be in the library and study longer than my friends because I didn\u2019t understand the language. There was a library right across from my school, and I spent a great amount of time there throughout my youth.\u201d Ricci, who is a man of deep faith, continued, \u201cWhen I started my businesses, I\u2019d made promises that I would give back whenever I can. To me, the library is going to help a young child out there who\u2019s struggling. A child who is going to the library to study and focus more so that he\/she can bring up their grades and get into the college that they want. That was me. If I can help in raising money and awareness, then that is the reason why I do it. I don\u2019t do it for any other reason.\u201d Keiser expressed why Carmel Travel Company is excited to be part of the collaboration. \u201cWe are so excited to be a part of the group that is putting together these amazing tasting events,\u201d Keiser said. \u201cCollaborating with Carmel Monthly Magazine and Tony\u2019s of Indianapolis to raise funds for the CCPL Foundation is the culmination of great teamwork and friendship. I think it\u2019s fantastic that we\u2019ve found a way through our businesses to share our love for the library while providing a way to experience new tastes and cultures at the same time. Appreciating fine dining, travel and reading are some of our great loves. What a great way to combine all these experiences and help serve the community at the same time!\u201d Ricci described, in brief, what guests of these tasting\/pairing events will experience. Those who are truly curious to learn more will need to contact Elizabeth Hamilton, CCPL Foundation director, to sign up for the wait list for the next event at Tony\u2019s of Indianapolis in September\u2014the June event is sold out! \u201cPeople are going to see that we are more than what you see on the menu,\u201d Ricci said. \u201cWe truly love our business and what we do. We truly care about the experience and the food. I believe it\u2019s not going to be long before people in Indianapolis and the surrounding areas find out that there\u2019s a lot more to us than just a place to go sit down and have dinner. What your guests will find out that evening, with this menu, is that it\u2019s going to be Tony\u2019s on steroids as far as presentation, quality, the pairings and so on and so forth.\u201d Hamilton weighed in on why having the support of businesses is key to the CCPL Foundation\u2019s ability to financially support the existing and future programming offered by the Carmel Clay Public Library. \u201cTo have somebody like Tony , who loves libraries and used libraries to better himself and his life, is really why we exist,\u201d Hamilton said. \u201cWe want to be that service to everyone that helps them broaden themselves. Without people like him, who are willing to step up and support our efforts, we wouldn\u2019t be able to offer all the free programming that we are able to offer. Without that kind of support, we\u2019d be existing as just a repository for books and not as a functioning community center, and that is what libraries really are\u2014institutions that are here to better the world. We\u2019re all stepping out of the \u2018bubbles\u2019 that we live in and are finding ways that we can continue to grow and spread the word about what we do.\u201d To request more information and\/or to reserve your seats for the next Tasting at Tony\u2019s of Indianapolis Benefiting the CCPL Foundation in September, please email Elizabeth Hamilton at email@example.com. The date for the September event will be finalized by July 10. Tickets are $150 per person and include a themed dinner and selected wine pairings in one of Tony\u2019s private dining rooms.