On Tuesday, September 16, more than 700 supporters celebrated the Ninth Annual New Yorkers For Children Fall Gala at Cipriani 42. Co-chairs Oscar de la Renta, Nancy and Andrew Jarecki, Dayssi and Paul Kanavos, Ashley and Jeff McDermott and Caryn and Jeff Zucker were joined by special guest Mariska Hargitay for the evening, which raised nearly $1.9 million for young people in foster care.
Upon entering Cipriani, guests were greeted by an oversized composition notebook, designed by David Stark, which featured quotes from young people in foster care about the importance of New Yorkers For Children (NYFC). Those messages were echoed throughout the room, with additional quotes projected on the walls and marble composition notebook vases holding lush red flowers on each table. The décor set the tone for the evening, and was a constant reminder to the guests of how important their support is for young people in foster care throughout New York City.
Jimmy Fallon opened the evening with a special Comedic performance to welcome guests. Lyor Cohen, Chairman and CEO of Warner Music Group presented honoree Kevin Liles, Executive Vice President of Warner Music Group, with the Nicholas Scoppetta Child Welfare Award for his tireless efforts to promote education and provide inspiration to young people. In his acceptance speech, he reminded the young people in attendance that despite adversities they may have faced, they are all superstars. He then welcome surprise guest Lupe Fiasco, who performed his hit single, “Superstar.”
Mariska Hargitay introduced a moving film featuring six of NYFC’s young people, who spoke about the need for support in their quest to achieve their dreams and set the tone for the hugely successful live auction of Guardian Scholarships, Back-to-School Packages, and other resources for students, presented by Sotheby’s Jamie Niven. In less than ten minutes, guests raised their hands to be champions for NYFC educational programs, raising nearly $350,000.
Spirit Award recipient Kevin Di Benedetto, a junior at Binghamton University, was among the young people in foster care in attendance. Kevin plans to use his $10,000 scholarship to achieve his goal of completing his PhD in computer science. Kevin and his peers were thrilled to meet many celebrity attendees at the Gala, including Jay Z, Beyonce, Blake Lively, Joy Bryant, Gayle King, Julianne Moore, Kim Raver and musical guest Patti Labelle, who invited the young people on stage during her roof-raising performance.
New Yorkers For Children is particularly grateful to our Presenting Sponsor, Nordstrom. In addition to their generous support at the Gala, Nordstrom provided clothing and accessories for the young people in attendance to make them look like the superstars that they are! Silver sponsors MAC Cosmetics and Frederic Fekkai provided makeup and hair consultations for our young guests to complete their glamorous looks.
Thank you to reception underwriter Wachovia, as well as to Platinum sponsors Donya and Scott Bommer, Ashley and Jeff McDermott, Roger Vivier and Kelly and Jay Sugarman. We look forward to your continued support and hope to see you next Fall!
Please continue to check our website for photos from this incredible evening!