Established in honor of Mark Zito and Kristin Brender by their fellow St. Blase Catholic Church parishioners in Sterling Heights, the first memorial dinner sold out immediately at 400.

Since then, the All the Way Home Gala has grown exponentially, now drawing more than 1,000 guests and corporate sponsors to downtown Detroit’s TCF Center for a festive evening of dinner, music and live and silent auctions.

Capping the celebration is the annual presentation of the Zito-Brender Legacy Award. The award honors individuals who embody the values central to the Pope Francis Center – that every human is a child of God and with every act of love and compassion for the most vulnerable, our honorees join us in raising up the entire human family, making the whole world a better place.

Zito-Brender Legacy Award Recipients:

  • Gene LoVasco, 2019
  • Cardinal Joseph Tobin C.Ss.R., 2018
  • Kristin Brender, Mark Zito, Bill Dirksen and Jimmy Settles, 2017

About the Zito-Brender Legacy Award

Mark Zito and Kristin Brender were friends and fellow parishioners at St. Blase Catholic Church in Sterling Heights. While Mark and Kristin both passed away tragically young, they left a legacy of deep faith and tremendous compassion for those most in need. In their honor, Mark and Kristin’s friends, family and community from St. Blase have become regular volunteers at the Pope Francis Center.

The Zito-Brender Legacy Award was established to recognize special friends of the Pope Francis Center who share Mark and Kristin’s dedication to serving and empowering others. Honorees receive a miniature Homeless Jesus sculpture by famed artist Timothy Schmalz. It depicts Jesus as a homeless person sleeping on a bench and reminds us all to see Jesus in everyone we meet. The original sculpture is installed outside of Sts. Peter and Paul Catholic Church.

Center Highlights