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Charleston March of Dimes Announces Co-Chairs for the 2021 Signature Chefs Auction

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Cooke (left) and Delcioppo

The Charleston March of Dimes this week announced George Cooke and Marie Delcioppo with SMHa, a Charleston area architectural design firm, as the 2021 Co-Chairs for the Charleston Signature Chefs Auction. The Annual Signature Chefs Auction will take place on Thursday, November 18th, 2021 at the Charleston Gaillard Center.

As the March of Dimes premier fundraiser, the Signature Chefs Auction celebrates the culinary excellence of top chefs across the Lowcountry. The interactive black tie features tastings of each restaurant’s most celebrated culinary creations and live and silent auctions.

George and Marie say they are excited to work together as co-chairs for an event that will play an integral role in raising awareness and funds to advance the scientific research and educational programs at the core of March of Dimes’ efforts to lead the fight for the health of all moms and babies.

George Cooke joined the Charleston Signature Chefs Auction committee in 2020. He was drawn to the March of Dimes after his wife, Chelsey, faced a sudden onset of life-threatening health complications in 2018 and their son, Cooper, was born premature. Thankfully, mom made a full recovery and Cooper is now 3 years old and thriving.

“Unfortunately, not all moms and babies are as fortunate, yet with the work March of Dimes is putting into research and support, many more can and will be,” said Cooke.

Cooke is an architect and the Director of Business Development at SMHa, a commercial architecture firm. A native Charlestonian, George graduated from Bishop England High School and went on to attend Virginia Tech, where he met his wife, Chelsey. After graduating, they moved back to Mount Pleasant to start their family and are now the proud parents of two boys, Cooper and Edwin. Actively involved in the community, George is a member of the Charleston Metro Chamber of Commerce serving on the East Council Steering Committee; the Urban Land Institute serving on the SC Program Committee; and volunteers with the First Tee of Greater Charleston, Learning by Design: SC, and Camp I-beam Summer Enrichment Programs.

Charleston City Councilwoman Marie Delcioppo represents District 1 on Charleston City Council and is also the Director of Marketing for SMHa, located in the Old Village of Mount Pleasant. A long-time Charlestonian, Marie graduated from Bishop England High School and went on to attend the University of Florida, graduating summa cum laude. She now resides on Daniel Island and is happy to be living close to her beloved family. Delcioppo also serves on the Berkeley County Sheriff’s Office Citizen Advisory Board and National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) Charleston Area Board and is the past chair of the National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA) walk in Charleston.

Marie has a passion for the welfare of women and children and “is honored to serve alongside my dear friend and coworker George Cooke to support efforts directly impacting the physical and emotional health of our mothers and babies.”

New to the event this year is a special sponsorship level created in memory of Mr. Bill Hall. March of Dimes will forever remember, cherish, and honor Mr. Hall, and Halls Chophouse is a proud sponsor of the Signature Chefs Auction. Mr. Hall was the 2017 Signature Chefs Auction Chair, served on the board, was the first Roosevelt Society member in South Carolina, and was instrumental in starting the NICU Family Support Program at MUSC. With his generous and humble heart, Mr. Hall went to great lengths to support the March of Dimes’ mission. The dedication and impact that Mr. Bill Hall made on March of Dimes will continue to change the health of all moms and babies for many years to come.

In South Carolina, 1 in 9 babies is born prematurely; 1 in 3 pregnancies result in miscarriage; and over 400 babies pass away before their first birthday each year. March of Dimes is making a local impact in Charleston through the NICU Family Support Program at MUSC Children’s Hospital and has supported local hospitals and businesses across the state by donating 20,000 masks during the COVID-19 pandemic. The United States is in the midst of a maternal and child health crisis, with more than 380,000 babies born prematurely each year and more than 50,000 women experiencing lifethreatening complications as a result of pregnancy and childbirth. March of Dimes is working in communities across the country to reduce the rising rates of premature birth and maternal mortality and morbidity by supporting women before, during, and after pregnancy.

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