|Last Thursday night at the American Museum of Natural History, the Animal Medical Center celebrated its Centennial at its annual Top Dog Gala and raised more than $1.5 million for the animal hospital.
Brooke Astor once remarked that if she ever got sick she’d like to be taken to the Animal Medical Center. If you’ve ever taken a pet there, you know what she meant. It has to be, arguably at least, the great animal hospital in the world. My little Byrone has been there twice in the past two years, each time for serious medical issues. In both cases they were taken care of by a team of doctors who give you the impression that Mrs. Astor was on to something.
|This annual gala draws some of the most prominent names in New York (and even in some cases, the world). It terms of cachet it’s right up there with the Met, the Met Opera, the Memorial Sloan Kettering, the Library. Oh, it is. There are other animal health and welfare institutions (Mr. Byrone, for example, came from the Humane Society and my Miss Jenny came from the ASPCA). They are all very good and very important in animal care. But the AMC has prominent backing from a group of very wealthy supporters, the very same people who support our hospitals. The result of that support is awesome in terms of results.
This past night’s honorees were Kathy and Billy Rayner – big animal lovers and supporters. They have five dogs – two shih-tzus, two Pekes and one Lab. The Rayners are also big supporters of the Animal Rescue Fund out on Eastern Long Island. And they are rescuers and adopters also. They recently underwrote a new medical program at the AMC that allows medical treatment to take less time and require less recovery time for the animal.
|Mrs. Astor was a big supporter of the AMC, along with her friend the now late Poppi Thomas. Between the two of them, they recruited support from the highest ... read: monetary) places. Their efforts made a deep impression and have been followed up with more and greater efforts by the succeeding generation.
There were some dogs making guest appearances, including an Afghan dog befriended by an American soldier when he was stationed there, as well as police trained dogs, bomb and drug sniffing dogs. These dogs live with their masters, members of the NYPD.
This writer was emcee of the evening. Peter Duchin and his Orchestra played and after the Awards ceremony the whole room got up to dance.
|Last Thursday night, The Child Mind Institute (CMI) raised $5.1 million at its Inaugural Child Advocacy Award Dinner at Cipriani, 42nd Street. Jon S. Corzine was honored with the 2010 Child Advocacy Award and celebrated CMI’s remarkable accomplishments in its first year, towards its mission to transform mental health care for children. President Bill Clinton congratulated Corzine on the award.
“The Child Mind Institute dares to imagine a world where no child suffers from mental illness,” said Corzine. “I truly feel honored to be a part of these bold efforts to make a difference for the future of all of our kids.”
Academy Award-winning director Ross Kauffman (Born Into Brothels: Calcutta’s Red Light Kids) and Raeshem Nijhon created a short film featuring parents—including model and actress Veronica Webb — sharing how effective treatment transformed their kids’, and their families’ lives.
|The inaugural Distinguished Scientist Awards were accepted by Judith L. Rapoport, MD, the director of child psychiatry at the National Institute for Mental Health, and Jerome Kagan, PhD, Daniel and Amy Starch Research Professor of Psychology, Emeritus, at Harvard University. These awards will be presented annually to two researchers, one basic scientist and one clinical scientist, who have demonstrated a lifelong commitment to psychiatry, psychology, or developmental neuroscience research, and have made substantial contributions to the field.
Harold S. Koplewicz, MD, president of the Child Mind Institute said: "In the United States alone, more than fifteen million children suffer from psychiatric disorders, and more than half will never get help; we have to change that.
“Last night, a truly remarkable investment was made in transforming mental health care for the world's children. We are so grateful to our generous supporters, to Jon, and to everyone who made our first year at the Child Mind Institute a tremendous success.”
|Dinner chairs included Elizabeth and Michael Fascitelli, Debra Perelman and Gideon Gil, Brooke Garber Neidich and Daniel Neidich. Co-chairs included Preethi Krishna, Ram Sundaram, and J.C. Flowers.
Notable guests included former Governor Corzine and Sharon Elghanayan, Robert DeNiro and Grace Hightower, NYC Council Speaker Christine Quinn, Dr. Ruth Westheimer, Christine and Richard Mack, Jane Rosenthal and Craig Hatkoff, Richard and Marcia Mishaan, Claude Wasserstein, Stephanie Winston Wolkoff, Ginevra Guarducci, Erica Jong, Molly Jong-Fast, Liz Robbins, Arthur and Linda Carter, Raymond McGuire, Julie and Edward Minskoff, Lisa and Gary Cohn, Laura Blankfein, Alice Tisch, and Lori and George Hall, and Linda Sirow.
The Child Mind Institute is devoted to transforming mental health care for the world’s children to enable them to reach their full potential. Founded by Harold S. Koplewicz, MD, and Brooke Garber Neidich, the Child Mind Institute is passionately committed to finding more effective treatments for childhood psychiatric and learning disorders, building the science of healthy brain development, and empowering children and their families with the information they need to get help, hope, and answers. To learn more, visit www.childmind.org.
|Last Tuesday at the American Museum of Natural History, the Junior Council had a private viewing of Brain: The Inside Story and a cocktail reception afterwards in the Hall of Saurischian Dinosaurs.
The exhibition allows visitors to explore how the brain – a product of millions of years of evolution – produces thoughts, senses, and feeling. It demonstrates how the brain is continually changing at different stages of life, and how new understanding of the workings of the brain may help scientists repair and reverse declines in brain function.
|The Museum’s Junior Council is one of the city’s most stimulating membership groups for young would-be philanthropists. Started sixteen years ago, the Junior Council supports the Museum’s mission to discover, interpret, and disseminate, through scientific research and education, knowledge about human cultures, the natural world, and the universe.
Co-chairs of the evening: Lisa and Paul Canty, Chirsty Corgan, Sarah J. Crews, Dokug and Eva Heyman, Dana Wallach Jones and Michel T. M. Jones, Holly and Martin Okner, Zachary and Lori Pomerantz, Andrew and Zibby Right.
|More than 1,200 guests attended Central Park Conservancy’s 14th annual lighting of Central Park’s picturesque Charles A. Dana Discovery Center at 110th Street on Sunday, December 5. The community event, hosted by The Women’s Committee of the Central Park Conservancy, culminated with the lighting of the building by Central Park Conservancy President Doug Blonsky and Women’s Committee President Gillian Miniter.
Organized by the Central Park Conservancy’s Public Programs Department, the Victorian Holiday celebration featured ornament-making activities, cookie decorating, refreshments, live music, and photo opportunities with Father Christmas. The event was generously underwritten by Con Edison, the founding sponsor, for the 14th year and graciously supported by Women’s Committee Board Member, Susan Rudin.
For more information on the Women’s Committee of the Central Park Conservancy, please call 212-310-6675 or visit www.centralparknyc.org/wcommittee.
|Photographs by Mary Hilliard (AMC); R. Mickens (AMNH); Sophie Elgort & Ann Billingsley (CMI);|