|On Tuesday, April 26, 2016, The Horticultural Society of New York (The Hort) hosted their 19th Annual New York Flower Show Dinner Dance. As a celebration of the influence of floral and garden design in society and the importance of flowers in the urban landscape, twenty-five of the tri-state area's premier floral, fashion and interior designers transformed the Pierre Hotel's Grand Ballroom into an over-the-top floral extravaganza.
The Hort, along with some of New York City's most influential socialites and designers, enjoyed a black tie dinner dance amidst the towering floral tabletop displays. During the gala, The Hort recognized Peter Copping, Creative Director for the renown fashion house, Oscar de la Renta, and Mary Van Pelt, former Board Chairman and distinguished Board Member of The Hort.
|Some of the designers who participated in the event include: Atlas Floral Decorators, Bastille Flowers & Events, Byron C James LLP, Events by O9 Inc, Flowers By Daye, Fox Fodder Farm, H. Hartley du Pont Designs, Hugh McMahon, Jorge Cazzorla for Celebrate Flowers, Laura Clare Floral Design & Event Décor, L'Olivier Floral Atelier, Mixed Greens Event Design, PFI, Renny & Reed, FlowerSchool New York and many more!|
|Luminaries and board members in attendance included: Kamie and Rich Lightburn, Dennis and Huguette Hersch, Mary and Guy Van Pelt, Andrea Henderson Fahnestock and George Hambrecht, Kathy and Othon Prounis, Nell and Robert Kleinschmidt, Bruce Addison, Mario Nievera, Jared Goss, Michele Lindsay, Ursula and Paul Lowerre, Lily O'Boyle, Hunt Slonem, John Danzer, Meg Braff, Hartley and Paul du Pont, Missey Condie, Mark F. Gilbertson, Nancy and Michael Hodin, Jean and Martin Shaffiroff, Alison and Geoffrey Strong, Clelia and Tom Zacharias, John T. and R. Ellen Avellino, Debbie Bancroft, Frances L. Shelton and William Bruder, David Sprouls, and more.|
|The proceeds raised from the event help The Hort sustain the vital connection between plants and the children, especially in underserved neighborhoods. This year's goal was to raise $500,000, which support two of The Hort's children's educational programs in low-income communities.
|On April 29th, Medical Missions for Children held its first annual New York dinner, "Miniskirts in "Paris," at 583 Park to raise money to repair cleft palates and other deformities for children in underdeveloped countries free of charge.
Over $200,000 was raised and is testimony to the hard work of the chair and vice chairs. Margie Rotchford was event Chair. Vice Chairs included Mia Fonssagrives-Solow, Lauren Lawrence and Dr. Robert F. Ward, M.D. Miniskirts in Paris honored fashion designer Vicky Tiel. This was the largest turnout ever for an event by Medical Missions for Children and the greatest amount of money ever raised.
|Guests included Amy Simek, Jodi Pulice, Ellen Israel, Anthony Staffa, Daniel Rotchford, Lorraine Valenti, Rene Brown, Marylou Luther, Nicole Fischelis, Antonio Valverde, Shannon O'Keeffe, Dr. Dennis Snyder and Amanda Grey, Joy Venturini Bianchi, David and Lauren Lawrence, Frank Nicoletti, Lyn Paulsin, Marilyn Kirschner, Kathe Green, Sam Moses, Paola Rosenshein and Arnie Rosenshein, Barbara ArataGavere, Francesca Sterlacci, Lucia Hwong Gordon, Mary Martin, Joy Marks, Natalie Sillery, Franklin Stone and David Wenk, Leslie and Louis Wolfowitz, Denise and John James, Tori, Christina Margie and Michael Rotchford, Amy and Rick Atlas, Brian and Nina McGuinness, Pilar Rossi, Jaye Luntz and George Mickum, Dr. Dennis Snyder, Harrison Till, Antonio Valverde, Michael Cooper, Kyle Tietjen Christine Biddle and Lisa Vickers. Entertainment was provided by The Dennis Collins Band featuring Alfa Anderson, Luci Martin and Norma Jean Wright.|
|On April 21st, J.McLaughlin hosted a special shopping event to benefit The Animal Medical Center's upcoming Eighth annual Living Legends Luncheon – hosted by event Co-Chairs Susan Verni Lazarus, Alison Minton, Kane Nussbaum, Joanne Ronson, Carol Sandow, Helene Stein and Marquam Wolfe, in honor of their fellow co-chair and AMC trustee, Janet York. More than 80 guests attended the event, including Kevin McLaughlin, co-founder and creative director of J.McLaughlin, his wife Barbara McLaughlin, Karen and John Klopp, Elizabeth Peabody, Toni Tucker, Anne Randell, Kamie Lightburn, Kathy and Othon Prounis, Jean Shafiroff, Nancy Sambuco, Nina Reeves, Kate Pickett and Jack Lynch. A percentage of all sales from the event will benefit the Animal Medical Center.|
|Food Bank For New York City, the city’s major hunger-relief organization working to end food poverty throughout the five boroughs celebrated friends and vital community members at its annual Can Do Awards Dinner, setting a 14-year fundraising record of $2.4 million dollars. The star-studded gala hosted by Mario Batali and presented by Bank of America at Cipriani Wall Street is instrumental in helping to provide support for the 1.5 million New Yorkers who rely on Food Bank For New York City’s programs and services.
Honored for their commitment to hunger relief were coffee maker Lavazza, photojournalist Joey O’Loughlin, and artist and farmer, Dan Colen. More than 600 people came out to support Food Bank For New York in the fight against hunger including nine-time Grammy nominee Ledisi, who started the night off with a soul- stirring cover of Sam Cook’s “A Change is Gonna Come.”
|Notable attendees included Aziz Ansari, Jon Bon Jovi, Dorothea Hurley, Chris Canty, Rosanne Cash, Peter Cincotti, Gabriele Corcos, Jennifer Ferrin, Dominic Fumusa, Jim Gaffigan, Bryan Greenberg, Carla Hall, Julie Landaur, Katie Lee, Marc Murphy, Brandon Maxwell, Mike Myers, Aby Rosen, Lee Schrager, Gail Simmons, Geoffrey Zakarian, Derek Blasberg, Paul Sorvino, Kelly Tisdale, John Leventhal, Stephanie March, Debi Mazar, Michael Stipe, Peter Brant, Stephanie Seymour, Wendy Deng Murdoch and many more.
Honorees spoke of the disconnect between appearances and reality in New York City – where so much prosperity exists, and yet as Francesca Lavazza said, "1.4 million people struggle to have a decent meal each day." Photojournalist Joey O'Loughlin, who documented the journey of food from Food Bank's warehouse to the dinner tables of the people served said, "I didn't realize there were food lines in New York City. I thought that was a thing of the past."
|Dan Colen, whose Sky High Farm provides fresh produce and meat directly to Food Bank, spoke of doing what might seem impossible – "There are no hard limits. We can always push to make more and better food so that we can stamp out hunger in New York City and beyond." Special guest Claudia M. brought home that message by proving an insight into her life story as a former pantry client and soon-to-be technical school graduate. "My family didn't want to beg, but going to a pantry made a difference in our lives. I’m not embarrassed or ashamed to say we needed help.”
In addition to a silent auction, the night included live bidding on items such as a luxury suite at Adele's sold- out concert at Madison Square Garden; a once-in-a-lifetime dinner by Mario Batali, David Chang, and Michael Symon; and VIP tickets to Jennifer Lopez in Las Vegas with first-class travel by Delta Air Lines. Comedians, Mike Myers, Aziz Ansari, and Jim Gaffigan offered themselves as an impromptu auction item; lunch with the three, cooked by Mario Batali.
|Even Chairs of the evening included Scott Feldman and Jodisue Rosen. Kevin Frisz served as Co-Chair and Mario Batali and Susan Cahn served a Honorary Chairs. Silent Auction Chairs were Christina Grdovic and Phillip Baltz.
Since its inception, the Can Do Awards have raised more than $14 million dollars, helping to provide 70 million free meals for New Yorkers in need. Every dollar donated to Food Bank For New York City helps provide five meals.
|Last month, the Mental Health Association of New York City (MHA-NYC) brought together over 300 supporters, guests and business leaders to call for greater awareness and support for the many faces of Mental Health at its 2016 MHA-NYC Gala.
Every speaker on stage spoke about why they too were one of the many faces of mental health or a part of the vast support system connected in some way to the cause. Host Bill Ritter talked about the huge disparity between the numbers- one in four adults in this country has had a mental health challenge- and the resources devoted to mental wellness.
|Longtime MHA-NYC CEO and President Giselle Stolper highlighted the organization as a force for mental wellness as exemplified by such programs as the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, Veterans Crisis Hotline, NFL Lifeline and 164 network crisis centers. "In 2015 alone," she said "these programs provided life saving assistance to 1.5 million people people across the country. And locally, in partnership with New York City, we answered up to 12,000 calls a month from people in crisis."
Sarah Vander Schaaff, a writer and blogger, whose honesty and courage about her own obsessive compulsive disorder in the Washington Post received international acclaim, urged the audience to talk openly with their children and friends and embrace "the wisdom and help, medical and behavioral, that can lessen the pain and anxiety or depression and limit our mental well-being."
|Antigone Davis, the head of Global Safety at Facebook, talked about their moving work with the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline to enable "compassionate connections on Facebook and our efforts to provide support for those dealing with depression and thoughts of self harm." Working collaboratively with experts in the field, Facebook has developed enhanced tools and resources for when people encounter this kind of content. Davis added that this work was a labor of love for her, having lost someone she knew well to suicide while in college.
It was 21-year-old D.J. Wilkerson, who brought the audience to its feet with his story of survival and ultimately triumph. Wilkerson, said he he had been called a "nothing" for much of his life. He began a self described "decline", faced trouble with the law, dropped out of school and was hospitalized in a psychiatric ward of a hospital. He turned his life around, with the help of MHA-NYC's Adolescent Skills Centers and beamed as he described his GED, two internships, successful job at GAMESTOP and educational and career dreams.
|The night came to a perfect close when Amy Kennedy, Education Director of the Kennedy Forum and wife of former Rhode Island representative Patrick J. Kennedy accepted the night's award as a champion of mental health on her husband's behalf. Kennedy said the lessons learned from Wilkerson's story, and all those shared throughout the night, were a perfect example of the need for more education and early intervention to help all those struggling with mental health challenges.
Event Chairs for the MHA-NYC 2016 Gala included: Jennifer Ashley, Ph. D., Global Director of Human Resources for CBRE, RIc Clark, Senior Managing Partner and Global Head of Real Estate at Brookfield, and CEO of Brookfield Property Partners, Charles P. Fitzgerald, founder and and Senior Managing Partner of of V3 Capital Management, L.P.
Other notable guests included: Rebecca Jarvis, Chief National Correspondent ABC News, Tamsen Fadal anchor at WPIX TV, former New York Rangers defensemen Tom Laidlaw, former New York Giants tight end Mark Bavaro and former New York Jets defensive back and broadcaster John Dockery.
|Photos by Annie Watt (MMFC & AMC)|