Bob Costas

The only thing Jim Castellano has to do to remind himself why he has been involved with the Bob Costas Benefit for the past 24 years is to visit the facility built from the funds it has raised. “Walking through the Bob Costas Cancer Center and seeing what’s being done there is all the motivation anyone needs to keep doing this,” says Castellano, cochair of the planning committee and treasurer for the Cardinal Glennon Children’s Foundation.

The Bob Costas Benefit will be April 21 at the Fox Theatre, with its namesake as host, music by Academy Award-winner Kevin Costner and his rock/country band, Modern West, and comedic entertainment from Dana Carvey. The event supports the cancer center, an outpatient day hospital within SSM Cardinal Glennon Children’s Medical Center, that provides treatment, such as chemotherapy, transfusions or drug therapies, for young children with cancer and blood disorders.

Castellano’s fellow committee leaders share his mindset about the cause, as all six of them—chairman Allen Allred and co-chairs James Brennan, Julian Carr, Robert Merenda and Peggy Ritter—have helped plan the event since its inception in 1988. “It’s really gratifying to help the doctors, nurses and other caregivers who are providing world-class care for these sick children,” Castellano explains.

The success of the event, which raises almost $1 million annually, relies on the support of the community. Castellano and the committee, which also includes 18 other members, bring in sponsors every year, a job made slightly easier with the name-recognition Costas generates. “It’s a very unique event in that we have a world-renowned celebrity in Bob, who devotes personal attention to it and brings in fantastic entertainment.”

Working as a team, the committee has established relationships with area companies through the years, and those businesses are repeat supporters of the benefit, including the title sponsor, Centene Corporation. “They are a great supporter of the hospital and the cancer center, and we couldn’t do this without their involvement,” Castellano notes.

Other long-time contributors include Anheuser-Busch InBev, Edward Jones, M&I, a part of BMO Financial Group, MasterCard, Peabody Energy and Wells Fargo Advisors, while Fifth Third Bank is a new major sponsor for 2012.

Because financial contributions are so vital to making the event a success, the sponsorships cover a range of price levels, allowing for broad-based community support, Castellano says. “We purposely designed the sponsorships so there are opportunities for companies of all sizes and means to get involved.”

The importance of the contributions from the community goes beyond the money the benefit raises. That support also creates intangible value by the way organizations then are connected to Cardinal Glennon and the Bob Costas Cancer Center, bringing attention to the cause. It is a connection that the committee will promote for years to come. “We’re not only raising funds to support the doctors and patients at the cancer center, but we’re also raising awareness of all the good that’s being done there.”