Albert's MS Auction

Bobbie Kissinger, left, of Dyer, takes a look at items up for auction on Sunday at the annual Albert's MS Auction in Hammond.

Kale Wilk, The Times

It has become a model of growth in fundraising for important social causes, and Northwest Indiana philanthropists should take note.

Earlier this month, Region-based Albert's Diamond Jewelers packed the 6,500-square-foot exhibit hall of Hammond's Indiana Welcome Center with bidders for a charity auction.

The event raised more than $240,000 for multiple sclerosis research.

That's more than 13 times more than the jeweler raised for the same cause during its inaugural fundraiser 14 years ago.

It's a textbook example of what a caring company can accomplish in growing efforts toward important causes.

More than 300 businesses donated items to be auctioned at the Albert's-sponsored auction this year, including watches, spa gift cards, professional athlete autographs and home theater systems.

In its first event a decade and a half ago, Albert's auctioned some of its own jewelry for the cause.

Though that event raised $18,000 — a mere fraction of what it sees today — it set the tone and example for much bigger things.

Multiple sclerosis is a chronic, often disabling disease. It disrupts the central nervous system, afflicting an estimated 2.3 million people worldwide.

Among those affected is the family of Albert's President Josh Halpern and his father Fred Halpern. Motivating the business' efforts is Josh's mother, Donnal Halpern, who has battled MS for decades.

To date, 14 years of a heartfelt effort, supported every year by planning and directed growth, have generated more than $1 million for multiple sclerosis research.

As a result, the Albert's auction has been inducted into the National MS Society's Circle of Distinction.

Locally, the business has created a model of how a caring Region business gives back to a greater humanity.

We all should salute that.

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Members of The Times Editorial Board are Publisher Christopher T. White, Editorial Page Editor Marc Chase, Editor Bob Heisse, Politics/History Editor Doug Ross and Managing Editor Erin Orr.