|Elegant, young and full of promise, forty-six accomplished young women of distinction made their debuts at the 62nd International Debutante Ball and dinner dance at the Pierre Hotel on December 29th. Each debutante made her entrance exquisitely poised in a designer dress, carrying a bouquet of pink roses and was accompanied by her own escort in white tie and tails. As she walked into the spotlight to be formally presented, the Lester Lanin Orchestra played her country or state song. This year's debutantes represented the United States, England, France, Scotland, China, Canada and 12 American states.
|A colorful and patriotic event, the International Debutante Ball is the loveliest and most enjoyable family occasion of the New York social season. The ball provides a social setting where young women and men from all over the world meet one another, have a wonderful time and form lasting friendships. The ball benefits The International Debutante Ball Foundation Charities, including the Soldiers', Sailors', Marines', Coast Guard and Airmen's Club of New York City.
|This year the Honorary Chairmen were Ms. Anne Eisenhower, Mrs. David Hamilton and Ms. Julia Irene Kauffman. The Director and General Chairman was Mrs. Gregory S. Hedberg and the Chairmen included Mrs. Andrew Beer, Mrs. Spencer Neville Brown, Mrs. Ryland Chase, Ms. Julie Nixon Eisenhower, Ms. Susan Eisenhower and Mr. Ivan Obolensky.|
|The Animal Medical Center (AMC) hosted its annual Top Dog Gala at Cipriani 42 to honor Donna Acquavella and to celebrate two extraordinary canines. The benefit, co-chaired by Robert Couturier, Nancy Kissinger, Elaine Langone, Elizabeth Monaco McCarthy and Annette de la Renta, raised more than $1.6 million to support AMC's mission.|
|More than 350 philanthropic New Yorkers – members of the real estate, finance and corporate communities – joined together to celebrate Volunteers of America-Greater New York’s 21st annual gala, A New York Winter’s Eve. This annual fundraiser was hosted by Willie Geist, Today Show and Morning Joe co-host. Held in The Plaza Grand Ballroom, the event raised over $700,000 to benefit more than 90 life-changing social service programs that help tens of thousands or people and families in need in the Greater New York area every year.
New York-based boutique media agency OOH PITCH and its co-founder David Matera received the Spirit of the Founders Award for their invaluable support throughout the years and for their significant contributions to this year’s Operation Backpack®, Volunteer of America’s annual back-to-school campaign that outfits homeless children with brand new backpacks filled with grade-specific school supplies, as well as the Veteran’s campaign.
|Tere Pettitt, President and CEO of Volunteers of America-Greater New York, said, “At Volunteers of America-Greater New York, we are devoted to helping our most vulnerable and at-risk neighbors by providing a lifeline of indispensable services. Because of the generosity of our friends and supporters, thousands of individuals and families in need are living safe, healthy, and productive lives in the community. This year, we were delighted to honor David Matera and OOH PITCH with the Spirit of the Founders Award for their passion and dedication to our mission.”
Volunteers of America-Greater New York is one of the oldest and most comprehensive social services charities, serving vulnerable New Yorkers for nearly 120 years. The services provided allow individuals and families to overcome obstacles in order to live safe, healthy and productive lives. Volunteers of America-Greater New York is committed to aiding the homeless, families escaping domestic violence, struggling veterans, preschoolers with developmental delays who also live in poverty, adults living with HIV/AIDS and other serious health issues, youth aging out of foster care, and so many others.
|“I am honored to receive this year’s Spirit of the Founders Award,” David Matera, Senior Vice President of Strategic Initiatives, Holt Media Companies and CEO/ Co-founder of OOH PITCH, noted. “At OOH PITCH, we understand the importance of giving back to the community we live in and are committed to supporting Volunteers of America’s tireless efforts to help thousands of New Yorkers in need.”
Serving as event chair were board members Roxann Taylor and Tom Johnson.
Also in attendance was Paige Davis, well-known host of TLC's Trading Spaces and seasoned stage actor (Broadway’s ‘Chicago’ and ‘Boeing Boeing’). Ms. Davis is also a Volunteers of America-Greater New York Board Member and spokesperson for the organization’s Operation Backpack campaign.
|Guests enjoyed a delicious dinner prepared by Chef Todd English, an internationally acclaimed and recognized chef.
The live and silent auctions were led by Lucas Hunt, professional auctioneer. Among the unique auction items were a trip to Bermuda, a dinner for ten with wine pairings in the Todd English Food Hall at The Plaza curated by Chef Todd English, a private movie screening, as well as fabulous Broadway shows, including Hamilton, a walk-on role in Chicago and dinner packages.
|Volunteers of America has been at the forefront of social service for nearly 120 years, helping individuals and families in need overcome obstacles to living safe, healthy and productive lives. Across the country, 2 million people in 400 communities in 46 states feel the impact of Volunteers of America’s work every year. Locally, tens of thousands of men, women and children in need benefit from Volunteers of America’s life-changing, often lifesaving work including the homeless, families affected by domestic violence, children with special needs, adults living with HIV/AIDS, behavioral health or substance use issues, at-risk youth, veterans struggling to find their footing and the frail elderly.|
|A packed room at American Yacht Club in Rye listened intently to the sage advice of the incomparable public parks designer and advocate Lynden B. Miller at the 2016 Hearth & Earth Luncheon on December 15th to benefit the Jay Heritage Center. Miller is renowned for her brilliant restoration of Olmsted's Central Park Conservancy Garden, the revitalization of Bryant Park, the Heather Garden at Fort Tryon and a myriad of green oases in Upper Manhattan. Long time friend and colleague Ira M. Millstein, the former Chairman of the Central Park Conservancy and current Chairman of the Central Park Conservancy Institute for Parks introduced Miller.|
|Both underscored how the success of any park, including the Jay Estate, relies on a fundraising machine of private and public investment, a commitment to maintenance and best management practices, anchored above all by a core group of volunteers (Tuesdays are preferred!) "Make it gorgeous and they will come. Keep it that way and they will help." The audience enjoyed gorgeous before and after photos that illustrated the impact that good bones, soil preparation and wise plant selection can have in a garden through all four seasons.|
|Their message was echoed in a second presentation by noted American arts specialist and Winterthur expert Jay E. Cantor. Cantor traced the evolution of Henry F. du Pont's iconic estate from private to public domain. With a choice selection of slides, he explained how du Pont's passion for creating an unsurpassed collection of decorative arts pieces spilled out into his landscape as well; the vibrant rose colors of his coveted Staffordshire china are echoed in swathes of Japanese azaleas throughout the grounds. Though many associate Winterthur primarily with antiques and interiors, Cantor demonstrated du Pont's equal virtuosity and painterly approach to horticulture and agriculture. Stunning images of daffodils planted in drifts, 20,000 bulbs at a time, throughout the Delaware woodlands had guests dreaming of the visual impact similar plantings might have at the Jay Estate in Rye.|
|The event was Co-chaired by Elisabeth Casey, Liz Garrett, Keelin Pye and Carol Sellon. Attendees were mesmerized by both talks and distracted only occasionally by the scent of fresh gingerbread in the air - whimsical hearth centerpieces created by Sweet Lisa's of Cos Cob, Connecticut were raffled off to lucky winners.|
|Photographs by Chichi & Elaine Ubina (Debutante Ball); BFA (Top Dog); Cutty McGill (Hearth & Earth); Anita and Steve Shevett (VOA-GNY)|