Winning with WIN; When Hollywood Meets Motown.

Elizabeth Jennings with the semi-finalists of the Peter Jennings Prize writing award

Judy Loeb Goldfein and Beth Dater

Last Tuesday night the 10th Annual Women In Need Benefit Dinner which was held at The Pierre Hotel. The evening was hosted by Al Roker and Deborah Roberts and honored Beth Dater for her 20 years of service and support to Women In Need. The room was packed with close to 500 guests and the event raised over $1,000,000.

The Dinner Co-Chairs were Katherine Freed Jennings, Christina Johnson and Gillian Miniter.

WIN President, Bonnie Stone, paid a special tribute to Peter Jennings who, along with his wife Katherine, had been long time supporters and friends of Women In Need. Peter Jennings had a special interest in children and believed in listening to children, hearing what they had to say. He dedicated much of his career, by anchoring specials dedicated to the issues of abuse and neglect, to raising awareness and helping children everywhere.

The Peter Jennings Prize: A Child's View was created to honor his memory by encouraging children to write, to talk, to express themselves. Katherine and their daughter, Elizabeth, presented the award to Eliot Richardson a nine-year-old boy whose writing brought tears to the eyes of many who listened as he spoke about life being filled with such promise because having a home is what you really need and everything will work out in the end.

Women in Need, Inc., a non-profit organization based in New York, serves homeless and disadvantaged women and their children. WIN helps homeless families through a comprehensive program, which includes shelter, supportive and permanent housing, job training and placement, domestic violence counseling, and alcohol and substance abuse treatment. It was incredible to hear, the WIN has tripled in size over the past years and now has an annual budget of $36,000,000. They have a success rate of 95% for the clients who graduate WIN and move to supportive and permanent housing. 8000 people are cared for by WIN each year.

Rochelle Williams, an aspiring singer, had been in over 20 foster homes during her childhood. At age 18, she arrived at WIN and her life took a turn for the positive. Rochelle now works full time raising her three daughters and, she told me last night, she expects to be releasing an album soon.

Quite often, we attend events and walk out not knowing what the organization is about or, even, why were there. That was not the case Tuesday night. I was completely moved by the stories of the clients, and the enthusiasm for WIN exhibited by its CEO Bonnie Stone, Board President Charlotte Prince as well as other Board Members including Beth Dater, Susan Rudin, Gillian Miniter, Joan Weill, Katherine Freed Jennings, Margo Fuld, Leila Strauss, Leni May, Barbara Perlmutter, Laura Pomerantz, and Judy Loeb Goldfein.

Elizabeth Finkle Eliot

Judy Loeb Goldfein, Bonnie Stone, and Gillian Miniter

Rita Zimmer, Charlotte Prince, and Susan Rudin

Charlotte Prince and Bonnie Chajet

Fran Levy and Susan Rudin

Kayce Jennings, Elizabeth Jennings, and Elliott Richardson, winner of the Peter Jennings Prize

Tina Johnson and Rob Wallstrom

Clive and Bonnie Chajet

Beth Dater and Judy Loeb Goldfein

L. to r.: Bonnie Stone and Jack Rudin; Barbara Perlmutter and Leni May; Andrew Rosen and Stacey Bendet.

Bonnie Stone and Robin White

Sherrie Rollins West, David West, Katherine Freed
Jennings, and Elizabeth Jennings

Liz Finkle and Charlotte Prince

Al Roker and Deborah Roberts with Gillian and Sylvester Miniter

Three weeks ago, Katie Couric and the Entertainment Industry Foundation (EIF) were joined by some of the biggest names from the film, television and recording worlds for Hollywood Meets Motown at theWaldorf-Astoria. The stellar group donating their time to participate included: Ashford & Simpson, James Taylor, The Bacon Brothers, Tiki Barber, Tony Bennett, Big & Rich, Chris Botti, Chris “Ludacris” Bridges, LL Cool J, Elvis Costello, Mary J. Blige, Robert De Niro, Jimmy Fallon, Tina Fey, Whoopi Goldberg, Chaka Khan, Greg Kinnear, John Legend, Martina McBride, Michael McDonald, Idina Menzel, Smokey Robinson, Jordan Rudess, Steve Tyrell, Vanessa Williams as well as other surprise guests.

HOLLYWOOD MEETS MOTOWN benefited EIF’s National Colorectal Cancer Research Alliance (EIF’s NCCRA) and the Jay Monahan Center for Gastrointestinal Health at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital / Weill Cornell Medical Center, named in honor of Couric’s late husband, who lost a nine-month battle with colon cancer in 1998, at the age of 42.

In addition to Couric, the benefit co-chairs include: Micky Arison (Chairman and CEO, Carnival Corporation), Cristina Carlino (Creator and CEO, philosophy) Victor F. Ganzi (President and CEO, Hearst Corporation), Michael Gould (Chairman and CEO, Bloomingdale’s), Maurice R. Greenberg (Chairman, The Starr Foundation), F. Mark Gumz (COO, Olympus America), Kevin Huvane (Managing Director, Creative Artists Agency), Sheila C. Johnson (President & CEO, Salamander Middleburg, LLC), Robert S. Kaplan, Jeffrey B. Kindler (Vice Chairman and General Counsel, Pfizer), The Monahan Family, Ronald O. Perelman, and Kevin Sharer (President and CEO, Amgen).

The fundraising took place during National Colorectal Cancer Awareness month and is part of a series of activities planned to urge Americans to know the facts about colon cancer prevention and the latest available treatments.

Colorectal cancer is the second-leading cause of cancer death for both men and women in the U.S., causing more than 55,000 deaths a year, though it is also one of the most preventable, with a higher than 90% cure rate with early detection. African Americans have the highest colon cancer mortality rate in the United States. With this event, NCCRA hopes to reinforce the message, ‘screening is key.’

Brian Stokes Mitchell and Katie Couric

Ronde Barber and Tiki Barber
Deborah Roberts and Al Roker

Ludacris, Smokey Robinson, and John Legend

James Taylor, Katie Couric, and John Legend

Martina McBride

Idina Menzel and Jimmy Fallon

Lydia Hearst

Elvis Costello and Katie Couric

Steve and Jamie Tisch
Mary J. Blige and Chaka Khan

Donald Trump and Katie Couric

Bill Perkins, Katie Couric, and Richard Fife

Photographs by Christopher London, Jasmine Marrero, and Jackie Jimenez (WIN).


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© 2006 David Patrick Columbia & Jeffrey Hirsch/