‘Light it Up Blue’ Gala honors community leaders


The sixth annual “Light It Up Blue” Gala, hosted by RVC Blue Speaks, will be held on Saturday, April 13 at the Coral House in Baldwin. This year’s event will recognize honorees Wayne and Karen Lipton of Rockville Centre, two dedicated community leaders, philanthropists and autism advocates, for their decades of dedicated volunteer service to the community.

RVC Blue Speaks is the largest grassroots, nonprofit charity on Long Island dedicated to raising awareness and support for individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder. Since its inception in 2017, this annual event has raised nearly $500,000.

Anthony Cancellieri, co-founder of RVC Blue Speaks and co-chair of the Board of Directors, said the organization is pleased to recognize Wayne and Karen Lipton for their years of volunteer service to the community and advocacy on behalf of this cause.

“Each year, the support we receive from our donors and sponsors, and especially our community of Rockville Centre and the surrounding communities, is more than we ever could have imagined,” Cancellieri said. “Thank you to everyone for supporting our mission and for your steadfast commitment to young people and families impacted by autism.”

Wayne Lipton has continued to serve the Rockville Centre community for more than 40 years. He previously served as an elected representative, both in his capacity as a village trustee and as deputy mayor, for eight years under the administration of the late former Mayor Eugene Murray.

He is an entrepreneur, a businessman, and a musician. Lipton is the chief executive and managing partner of Concierge Choice Physicians, a company that he founded in 2005 that services physicians from 24 states in marketing and administering concierge programs.

Lipton is also a member of the Mount Sinai South Nassau Advisory Board and Molloy University Board of Trustees. He was a founding member of the Rockville Centre Education Foundation, former executive vice president of Central Synagogue-Beth Emeth, a former board member with Congregation B’nai Sholom-Beth David, former chairman of the RVC Human Rights Commission and a former member of the Planning Board. He is also president of the Rockville Centre Guild for the Arts and acting president and principal cellist of the South Shore Symphony Orchestra since 1991.

His wife, Karen Lipton, graduated from Hofstra Law School and spent decades as a prosecutor in the Nassau County District Attorney’s Office, working under former DAs Denis Dillon, Kathleen Rice and Madeline Singas. She was active in the Rockville Centre School District’s Parent-Teacher Association Council and Special Education Parent-Teacher Association. She was also honored with the Jenkins Memorial Award along with a lifetime membership in the PTA.

“RVC Blue Speaks is a local organization created by two people we respect significantly,” Wayne Lipton said. “We’re very honored to help this local organization raise money so that they can continue to do good work.”

This year’s event is an important opportunity for the Lipton’s to honor the memory of their late son, Adam, who died in April 2020. Adam was diagnosed with autistic tendencies as a child and would benefit greatly from early intervention programs available through the school district and Camp Anchor. He was seriously injured in an accident at the age of 10 and would survive until he was 37.

Anthony and Mary Lou Cancellieri of Rockville Centre created RVC Blue Speaks in 2016, when their two-year-old grandson, Louis, was diagnosed on the autism spectrum.

To date, the organization has donated thousands of dollars to support those with autism through grants and scholarship programs. It has generously given to the Adelphi University’s Bridges Program, Seaver Autism Center for Research and Treatment at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai and the Hagedorn Little Village School in Seaford.

RVC Blue Speaks will also be hosting a special tree lighting event on Tuesday, April 2 at 7 p.m. in front of Village Hall, 1 College Place in Rockville Centre. For more information about the tree lighting, and the organization or to reserve a ticket for the upcoming gala, visit RVCBlueSpeaks.org.