Glamorous Philly Event Set to Benefit Local Center for Autism


hair o the dog

Cassie McHugh Co-Editor-in-Chief

Looking for a way to give back while having a fun night out with friends? You’re in luck. Philadelphia’s annual Hair O’ The Dog returns for its 24th year on Saturday January 20. The glamorous event boasts a red carpet, local celebrity guests, and a black-tie dress code.

This year’s event will feature performances by EDM trio Cash Cash as well as DJ GHOST of the Philadelphia 76ers. Guests can expect gourmet Asian fare and décor as part of this year’s theme, set to reflect the upcoming “Year of the Dog” in the Chinese zodiac.

What sets Hair O’ The Dog apart from other swanky local affairs is the event’s dedication to giving back to the local community. Each year, the event’s executives select a local charity to benefit with a portion of its proceeds. This year, the event will benefit The Center for Autism, a local nonprofit that provides evaluations and treatments to Philadelphia children and families.

The Center for Autism’s Communications Director Jessica Bollard spoke with The Villanovan via email about the center’s mission and how Hair O’ The Dog will benefit their organization.

The Villanovan (TV): The Center for Autism is the oldest specialized autism center in the nation. What are some of the major ways the Center has impacted the greater Philadelphia community?

Jessica Bollard (JB): The Center serves over 1,500 children and families each year at our two Philadelphia locations. Our founder, Dr. Ruttenberg, was one of the first child psychiatrists in the country working with individuals on the spectrum and his treatment philosophy is the foundation for our services today. Not only do we provide diagnostic evaluations, but also treatment to individuals of all ages, and training to professionals who encounter with people with autism in a variety of capacities. In our over 60 year history, our staff and services have had a significant impact on countless individuals and families.

TV: How did the Center’s partnership with this year’s Hair O’ The Dog come about?

JB: Like many, the event organizers have a personal connection to autism within their family. They initially reached out to our CEO and wanted to learn about the programs we offer to the Philadelphia community. We were beyond pleased to be chosen as the beneficiary of this year’s event.

TV: In what ways will the money raised through this year’s Hair O’ The Dog be used to benefit the Center for Autism?

JB: As a nonprofit organization, donations are an invaluable resource. Contributions like this help us replace equipment, make improvements to our facilities and playgrounds, and make other purchases that benefit the children receiving our services. In December, Hair of the Dog donated $2,500 to our Holiday Giving Program, which helped us purchase toys for our children for the holidays. Over 70% of the children we serve come from low income households.

TV: Besides attending Hair O’ The Dog, how can members of the Villanovan community help the Center for Autism in their mission?

JB: If you would like to help the Center, reach out to us with your ideas! Some of our best fundraising ideas have come from student groups. Donations are always welcome and can be made right on our website. You can also find us on Facebook or Twitter to stay updated on our activities and ways you can participate throughout the year.

For more information about Hair O’ The Dog visit and to purchase tickets, head to The event is open to guests 21 and up.