More than 700 guests joined New Yorkers For Children on September 18th for our Eighth Annual Fall Gala, which was held at 583 Park Avenue. David Stark’s event décor included mirrors and reflective surfaces to reinforce the Gala’s theme: “Help starts with you!” The 2007 Gala has raised more than $1.95 million thus far, setting a record for funds raised at this annual event with a 30% increase.
This year’s Gala was chaired by Oscar de la Renta, Dayssi and Paul Kanavos, Ashley and Jeff McDermott, and LeAnn Rimes, along with honorary chairs Commissioners Nicholas Scoppetta and John B. Mattingly. Following the dinner, chart topping artist Sean Kingston performed several of his hits, including his #1 single “Beautiful Girls.”
NYFC supporters and young people in foster care honored Laura Baudo Sillerman, President of the Tomorrow Foundation, with the Nicholas Scoppetta Child Welfare Award, for her dedication to closing the gap between have and have-not children in our community. This year’s Wachovia New Yorkers For Children Spirit Award, presented to a student who has demonstrated outstanding leadership skills, a commitment to community and the determination and ability to overcome the barriers to academic success, was awarded to Ishmael Kamara, a senior at SUNY Oneonta. Ishmael plans to use the scholarship he received from NYFC to pursue his Masters degree in education.
The NYFC Back-to-School Package program was a focal point of the Gala. For the first time, the event featured a live auction of the packages, which contain essentials including laptops, Random House dictionaries, Target backpacks and gift cards, Cole Haan wallets, Pantone notebooks, smartwater, L’Oreal Professionnel shampoo and conditioner, Sferra bath towels, and more. This year NYFC is aiming to provide a Back-to-School Package to each of the 500 college-enrolled young people in foster care in New York City. The live auction of the $2,500 Back-to-School Packages raised more than $125,000, providing packages for 50 young people and putting us well on our way to achieving our goal! We are also thrilled to announce that FedEx has agreed to serve as the exclusive delivery service of the Back-to-School Packages in 2008.
The evening also featured a film about six young people who have been impacted by NYFC. Chantel Johnson, Sha’Rhone Frost, Rayshawn Pettaway, Nathanial Aviles, Dawnae Silvia, and Jessica Maxwell each shared their personal stories about their experiences in foster care, which were both inspirational and a testimony to the impact NYFC programs can have on young people. We are so grateful for their participation!
NYFC was pleased to be joined by sixteen young people in foster care to celebrate the evening. Macy’s Inc. generously dressed the youth, while Mario Diab and Dior Beauty provided hair styling and make-up. We are grateful to these generous supporters for helping our young people look so spectacular.
NYFC would like to thank all of our corporate sponsors, particularly Wachovia Foundation, Wachovia Securities, Christian Lacroix, Credit Suisse, Deutsche Bank Private Wealth Management, Elie Tahari, Harry Winston, Freddie Mac Foundation, Cantor Fitzgerald, Macy’s, Inc., Tumi, Reservoir Capital Group, Cole Haan and Target.