Women of Distinction
|Last Thursday, April 23rd, three New York City businesswomen and one high school student were honored as part of the Crohn's & Colitis Foundation of America's 22nd annual Women of Distinction Luncheon at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel. Eliza Bolen, executive vice president of Oscar de la Renta, was honored as the Woman of Distinction in Fashion. Cyma Zarghami, president of Viacom's Kids and Family Group, was honored as the Woman of Distinction in Business. Lara Englebardt Metz of Lara Metz Nutrition was honored as the Woman of Distinction in Nutrition & Health. Chloe Hubbe, a ninth grade student at Columbia Preparatory School, was honored as this year's Rising Star.
Veteran news reporter and Crohn's disease patient Cynthia McFadden of NBC News hosted this year's luncheon. The luncheon's honorary chairs were Nancy Brown and Diane Miller, and the chairs were Ellen Crown, Elyse Newhouse, Michelle Swarzman, and Michele Sweetwood. This year's luncheon also featured a fashion show debuting Oscar de la Renta's Fall 2015 collection for the first time in New York, Creative Director Peter Copping's first collection for the fashion house.
|The Women of Distinction Luncheon draws well-known attendees from New York society. This year, attendees included Betsy Baron, Debra Black, Emily Blavatnik, Clarissa Bronfman, Samantha Brous, Veronica Bulgari, Maureen Cogan, Betsy Cohn, Ellen and Dan Crown, Jennie DeScherer, Beth Dozoretz, Gary Fuhrman, Jane Holzer, June Jacobs, Carol Kalikow, Barbara Lane, Judy Lauder, Bonnie Englebardt Lautenberg, Dalia Leeds, Karen LeFrak, Ninah Lynne, Phyllis Mack, Sondra Mack, Linda Macklowe, Patty McEnroe, Trish McEvoy, Gillian Miniter, Marcia Mishaan, Elyse Newhouse, Pamela Pantzer, Perri Peltz, Denise Rich, Lois Robbins, Deborah Roberts, Peter Thomas and Noreen Roth, Carolyn Rowan, Dr. Gail Saltz, Mara Sandler, Josh Schulman, Dr. Howard Sobel, Dr. Robbyn Sockolow, Sara Star, Candice Stark, Bonnie Strauss, Michelle Swarzman, Vanessa Trump, Priscilla Rattazzi Whittle and Caryn Zucker.|
|Over the past 22 years, the Women of Distinction Luncheon has honored New York City women who are making a difference in the lives of those living with Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis. Over the past three years, the luncheon has raised more than $5.4 million to support research and education of these debilitating inflammatory bowel diseases.
Known collectively as inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD), Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis are painful, medically incurable diseases that attack the digestive system. Crohn's disease may attack anywhere along the digestive track, while ulcerative colitis inflames only the large intestine (colon). Symptoms may include abdominal pain, persistent diarrhea, rectal bleeding, fever, weight loss and fatigue, and many patients require numerous hospitalizations and surgeries.
|The Crohn's & Colitis Foundation of America (CCFA) is the largest voluntary non-profit health organization dedicated to finding cures for Inflammatory Bowel Diseases (IBD). CCFA's mission is to cure Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis, and to improve the quality of life of children and adults who suffer from these diseases. The Foundation works to fulfill its mission by funding research, providing educational resources for patients and their families, medical professionals, and the public, and furnishing supportive services for those afflicted with IBD. For more information, visit www.ccfa.org.|
|Nearly 200 guests gathered at Scully & Scully to celebrate the 2015 Park Avenue tulips. Always a festive evening, this annual event, held appropriately on Earth Day this year, featured a book signing with Bunny Williams and her new book "Bunny Williams on Garden Style." Two important anniversaries were also celebrated: The Fund for Park Avenue's 35th and the New York City Landmark Law's 50th. Parks Commissioner Mitchell J. Silver was on hand to commemorate the occasion and applaud The Fund and its donors for their efforts to beautify New York City.
After Fund President, Barbara McLaughlin, thanked everyone for their loyal support of the Fund, she reminded them that without their annual contributions there would be no tulips to celebrate. She then explained that because coral is the traditional gift for a 35th anniversary, a "coral" colored tulip was selected this year (Darwin hybrid Ad Rem to be specific). The coral theme was carried through to the table created by Eugenie Niven Goodman, a Fund board member and interior designer.
|To commemorate the 50th anniversary of the passage of NYC's Landmark Law, Barbaralee Diamonstein-Spielvogel formed the NYCLandmarks50 Alliance to educate and inform the public about historic preservation in the City. As a member of the Alliance, The Fund planted a border of blue and white pansies around the tulip beds facing the larger cross streets on Park Avenue. When the tulips are in bloom, these beds will represent the colors of the NYC's flag – orange, blue and white. The selection of a coral (orange) tulip was a happy coincidence this year.|
|Along with Barbaralee Diamonstein-Spielvogel, who created a table with a Japanese theme complete with a menu and a guest list of famous architects, two other members of the Alliance participated in this event: students from the New York School of Interior Design created a table highlighting landmark interiors from the school's recent exhibition. Thomas Jayne's table for the Friends of the Upper East Side Historic Districts had a nautical theme. A fifth table, hosted by cousins Georgina Schaeffer and Leslie Banker, was inspired by old Southampton and New York.|
|Michael Scully, the evening's host, greeted guests at the front door, making everyone feel welcome. Attending a party at Scully & Scully always feels like spending a cosy evening in the beautifully decorated home of a friend and this night was no different. Music from Alex Donner filled the rooms and guests left with The Fund's traditional party favor – a tulip cookie with coral icing (of course!).
Among the guests were: Leslie Banker, Jeffrey Banks, Kevin Bishop, Nancy Baker, Gaily Beinecke, LeMerle Brinkley, Patricia Burnham Brock & Bill Brock, Frances Shelton Bruder & Bill Bruder, Catherine Cahill, William Castro, Jim Cherry, Alyce Fay Cleese, Mary Davidson, Christina Davis, Zita Davisson, Alex Donner, Franny Eberhart, Polly Espy, Steve Ferrell, Linda & Conrad Foa, Nina Ford & John Richter, Richard Freundlich, Martha & John Glass, Mark Gilbertson, Susan & Donald Ginsburg, Marjorie Reed Gordon & Ellery Gordon, Judith Gura, Jamee Gregory, Nina Griscom, Mayme & Monte Hackett, Kathleen Hale, Clifford & Ralph Harvard, Mary Hilliard, Sarah Hornung, Carl & Kaki Hribar, Melanie Holland, Eileen Judell, Tara Kelly, Eleanora Kennedy, Karen Klopp, Anki Leeds, Kamie & Richard Lightburn, Carol & Jenny Lyden, Podie Lynch, Chris MacLaughln, Kevin McLaughlin, Alison and Sylvia Mazzola, Mia McNiece, Alma Merians, Alison Minton, Peter Millard, Melissa Olcott, Polly Onet, Elizabeth Peabody, Nancy Piraquive, K. Cooper Ray, Gordon Roberts, Andrea Robinson, Anna Safir, Georgina Schaeffer, Marcia Schaeffer, Dennis Scully, Judy Steckler, Joan McClure, Janice Thayer, Victoria Ostrowski, Robin & Frederic Withington and Michel Witmer.
|The Fund for Park Avenue relies solely on contributions from the community to plant, light and maintain the trees and flowers on the Park Avenue Malls from 54th to 86th Streets. For more information, visit www.fundforparkavenue.org
|Food Bank For New York City — the city's major hunger-relief organization working to end food poverty throughout the five boroughs — honored its partners in the fight against hunger — Tom Colicchio and Lori Silverbush, Stavros Niarchos Foundation and Sandra Lee-Simply Living Publishing — at the 13th Annual Can Do Awards Dinner, presented by Bank of America, on Wednesday, April 21st, at Cipriani Wall Street. Mario Batali and Susan Cahn, long-time Food Bank supporters and the 2013 Can Do Award honorees, serve as this year's Honorary Chairs.
Can Do Honorees Tom Colicchio and Lori Silverbush were honored for their commitment to giving a voice to the millions who struggle to afford food, and for shining a light on the inequalities that exist in our society, thus inspiring many to action. Together, they have been a leading force for change and true advocates for those struggling to put food on the table every day.
Can Do Honoree Stavros Niarchos Foundation has supported Food Bank For New York City's hunger-relief efforts since 2009. In 2011, The Foundation made a transformational gift to help create a technology solution that enables Food Bank to connect New Yorkers in need with emergency food and other services. The initiative tracks New Yorkers accessing food and other services through Food Bank's network of 1,000 community partners. The project will play a key role as part of Food Bank's strategic vision to create networks of organizations connecting clients with food and other benefits in an effort to reduce and eliminate the "meal gap" (the city's official measure of food insecurity).
|This year's Corporate Can Do Honoree was Sandra Lee-Simple Living Publishing, who has made ending hunger a cause she is deeply committed to, having known first-hand what it is like to live with the worry of not knowing where a next meal was coming from. Sandra has partnered with Food Bank on many campaigns over the years, including helping raise critical support for Food Bank's Sandy Relief efforts. In 2013, she hosted the World's Largest Bake Sale, which raised more than $50,000 for Food Bank's vital programs.
The Can Do Awards Presenting Sponsor is Bank of America.
|The Can Do Awards Dinner is instrumental in helping provide support for the 1.5 million New Yorkers who rely on Food Bank programs and services, including one in five children. New York's most vulnerable families have lost more than 134 million meals as a result of the November 2013 cuts to SNAP (formerly known as food stamps). Food pantries and soup kitchens have confronted additional need without an adequate supply of food. Can Do celebrates what each of us 'can do' to help fight hunger in New York City. Since its inception, the Can Do Awards have raised more than 12 million dollars, helping to provide 60 million meals for New Yorkers in need. Every dollar donated to Food Bank For New York City helps provide five meals.|
|We Are Family Foundation (WAFF), a not-profit organization founded by legendary songwriter and producer Nile Rodgers, hosted its annual Celebration Gala, honoring Caryl M. Stern, Bill McDermott and Chaka Khan, and featured a special concert with Nile Rodgers & Chic with Chaka Khan, on Thursday, April 23, 2015 at Manhattan Center’s Hammerstein Ballroom in New York City.
The event was attended by more than 500 guests and the money raised furthers WAFF’s global youth initiatives, Three Dot Dash and TEDxTeen. These initiatives support, mentor and provide platforms for extraordinary global teens to amplify their social entrepreneurial work that positively impacts communities in more than 60 countries.
After an introduction by Rosanna Scotto and Greg Kelly, Nile Rodgers welcomed everyone to the event saying he was “humbled and blown away,” by everyone in attendance. He then went on to share that although each year’s honorees are amazing, this year he was particularly moved to honor Chaka Khan, someone he has looked up to for decades. Following his remarks, he welcomed President of WAFF and his partner Nancy Hunt. Speaking about the global teens WAFF works with in more than 60 countries, she said, “They don’t believe in no, only in why not”. She then introduced WAFF’s new Executive Director, Jess Teutonico, sharing her story of starting out with WAFF as a Three Dot Dash Mentor, followed by Curator for TEDxTeen to her current position as Executive Director. Jess shared WAFF’s aim to “empower game changing youth to positively challenge the status quo.”
|She introduced 17-year-old Nicholas Lowinger, founder of Gotta Have Sole and a CNN Hero who founded his organization after visiting homeless shelters as a young boy. He realized that by not having shoes that fit, children in shelters miss out on a lot of opportunities and suffer from low self-esteem. He started Gotta Have Sole at age 12 and became a WAFF Global Teen Leader (GTL) through its Three Dot Dash program in 2013. Since becoming a GTL, his organization has impacted more than 35,000 kids across the country.
Mattie J.T. Stepanek Peacemaker Award honoree Caryl M. Stern, President & CEO of The U.S. Fund for UNICEF, was introduced by her two sons James and Lee LaRosa. After a video introduction featuring her travels to aide children in refugee camps and her dedication to helping children across the world, Dr. Jeni Stepanek, mother of the late Mattie J.T. Stepanek whom the award is named after, started her introduction with a recording of a poem written and recited by Mattie. She shared that Stern and Mattie held similar beliefs in that all children should have the opportunity to achieve all dreams and they both embrace opportunities for peace. Stern, shared that it was her mother who instilled within her the belief that one person can make a difference. She dedicated her award to the four UNICEF aide workers who lost their lives in a bombing in Somalia earlier in the week, saying that they had dedicated their lives to ensuring children could have a better future.
|Maria Bartiromo introduced the Visionary Award honoree, SAP President and CEO Bill McDermott. Following a video presentation which included SAP employees and guest appearances from NBA Commissioner Adam Silver, former golf professional Gary Player and Bono, he spoke to the crowd and said, “You can get anything you want in this life if you help other people get what they want.”
Following McDermott’s speech Toby Usnik of Christie’s led an exciting live auction raising more than $250,000.
Following the auction, Nile Rodgers presented Chaka Khan with the Humanitarian Award. After accepting the award, she joined Nile Rodgers and CHIC for three songs, “Feel For You”, “I’m Every Woman” and “Ain’t Nobody” with a special appearance by Grandmaster Melle Mel. Nile Rodgers and CHIC played their hits at the end of the night, including their new single “I’ll Be There," and ended with the audience joining the band on stage as they performed “We Are Family” and their signature song, “Le Freak."
|Photographs by Rob Rich (Crohn's & Colitis); Annie Watt (Fund for Park Avenue)|