On September 22, 2009, nearly 700 friends and supporters of New Yorkers For Children celebrated the Tenth Annual Fall Gala at Cipriani 42 to MAKE IT HAPPEN for youth in foster care in New York City. Nina and Mitch Davidson, Oscar de la Renta, Tony and Susan Gilroy, Nancy and Andrew Jarecki, Kevin Liles, Shirin von Wulffen and Frederic Fekkai, and Stephanie and David Wolkoff served as co-chairs for the Gala, which raised $1.5 million to benefit youth in foster care.
A giant wall of yellow and black Post-its, created by David Stark, graced the entrance to Cipriani as guests arrived. Quotes from NYFC youth were projected on the walls, further emphasizing the impact of NYFC’s educational programs. A large “giving tree,” also created entirely of Post-its and featuring messages from NYFC youth, stood in the adjacent chapel. Guests were invited to post their thoughts on how they MAKE IT HAPPEN.
CNN anchor Anderson Cooper served as the host for the evening, and Board Member Kevin Liles presented honoree Mary J. Blige, philanthropist and founder of FFAWN, with the Nicholas Scoppetta Child Welfare Award. Blige received the award for her work in empowering young women through education, career development, and promoting strong self-esteem and personal growth.
Spirit Award recipient Shantel Schloss, a junior at Morgan State University in Baltimore, was among the young people in foster care in attendance. Shantel plans to use her $10,000 award toward her college tuition and LSAT classes, which will help her achieve her dream of attending a top law school. Shantel and her peers were especially excited for special musical guest Ne-Yo’s energetic performance, which had guests on their feet and cheering during dinner.
Oscar-nominated director Tony Gilroy premiered his first short film at the Gala, featuring the inspiring stories of eight youth in foster care. The poignant film detailed their past struggles, future aspirations, and how their lives have been changed by NYFC programs. It struck a deep chord with the Gala guests, reminding them of the importance of supporting these programs and the youth they serve. To view the film, please visit http://newyorkersforchildren.org.
The evening also featured a live auction to benefit educational programs for youth in foster care in New York City, presented by Jamie Niven of Sotheby’s. To start the bidding, new Board Member Nancy Jarecki’s family and friends kicked off the auction with a $10,000 bid in her honor, setting in motion a highly successful auction which raised nearly $250,000.
New Yorkers For Children sincerely thanks Macy’s, who outfitted all 19 youth, and Silver sponsors MAC and Frederic Fekkai who provided makeup and hairstyling.
New Yorkers For Children also extends a special thank you to The Jay and Kelly Sugarman Foundation, our Platinum sponsor for the evening, Delta Air Lines, the official airline sponsor of the event, and Ankasa, who donated hand-finished cut work table linens and customized MAKE IT HAPPEN embroidered napkins. We look forward to your continued support and we hope to see you next Fall!