|The Horticultual Society of New York's 11th Annual Flowers & Design: A Garden Party, honoring Charlotte Moss last night at 583 Park Avenue.|
|Kinda chilly but still beautiful early spring days in New York; sunshine and almost-overcoat weather.
Fifteen years have passed since Evelyn Lauder founded the Breast Cancer Research Foundation in 1993.
Four years before that Mrs. Lauder had started the fundraising drive that led to the establishment of the Evelyn H. Lauder Breast Center at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York. It was the first ever breast and diagnostic center and became a model for similar facilities around the world.
Three years after that in 1992, she and Alexandra Penney, then editor (and creator) of Self magazine, developed the pink ribbon which has become the symbol of breast health worldwide.
When you meet Mrs. Lauder, you meet a soft-spoken but forthrightly friendly woman, very attractive, warm in her greeting, with bright and smiling brown eyes. A native New Yorker, she started adult life as a teacher and married the eldest son of one of the most dynamic businesswomen of the 20th century.
The stories about Estee Lauder, the woman, the parfumier as the French would say, are legend: how she turned an idea into a billion dollar empire with stick-to-it-iveness, gumption and creative imagination. I’ve often wondered, although I’ve never asked Evelyn Lauder what it was like to be the daughter-in-law of such a powerful force. A challenge is what it might be for not a few young women entering such a family environment.
Howbeit, having observed Evelyn Lauder at work and play for a number of years now, and being aware of her extraordinary energy and drive and generosity in philanthropy, in her cultural interests, with her personal friends; as a mother, a hostess, a wife and an executive, I’ve concluded that she was a brilliant match for that brilliant mother-in-law.
Such an outcome is a feat in itself for any woman – or man in a similar situation. Furthermore she went into the family business as a young woman and has had a 47-year career there (where she is now Senior Corporate Vice President). And during that time she and her husband have made a significant mark in New York with their interests and contributions to so many of the city’s institutions, forging many longtime friendships along the way. Besides that, she raised a family, and turned a hobby – photography into an artist’s industry, as a photographer, using its success to spread her largesse.
That said, all that accomplishment, all that achievement seems to have led to something greater; what I would call the giving that keeps on giving; the greater good.
|Since its inception the Breast Cancer Foundation has raised an astounding $215 million to support clinical and genetic research at medical institutions across the world. This past year (2007), they made grants to 141 doctors and scientists.
Aside from this corporate-sized establishment, its founder has personally remained a steadfast friend and helped hundreds of women who have been confronted by, burdened with, terrified of the threat and the real fears of the disease. Almost all of us today know women who have had breast cancer. I personally know a dozen – mainly young -- women between 28 and 50 who have been afflicted by breast cancer. It is epidemic in our society today. Many of these women have been directly or indirectly been assisted or helped by Evelyn Lauder’s work.
Last night in the Grand Ballroom of the Waldorf-Astoria, with more than 1000 supporters attending, they celebrated with what they called “The Hottest Pink Party Ever.” The beautiful Elizabeth Hurley, the evening’s emcee announced that so far they’d taken in $4.5 million. A bit later when Mrs. Lauder came by our table, she told me someone had just donated another $500,000 to the cause. So they’re up to $220 million and heading for a quarter billion. Run as it is by an executive with stellar abilities that match its founder, they are now spending 92 cents of every dollar taken in for research – another astounding accomplishment.
| Honorary Chairs for the evening were President and Mrs. Bush and Vice-President and Mrs. Cheney. Co-Chairs were Marjorie Reed Gordon, Cornelia Guest, Donna Karan, Kinga Lampert, Evelyn and Leonard Lauder, Jane Lauder, Jo Carole and Ronald Lauder, Karen and William Lauder, Cynthia and Dan Lufkin, Ingrid Sischy and Sandra Brant, Vera Wang, and Aerin Lauder Zinterhofer.
Mrs. Lauder opened the evening although the speeches were brief and to the point. Dr. Larry Norton, Deputy Physician-in Chief of Memorial Hospital with responsibility for Breast Cancer Programs spoke about the progress they’ve made. Myra J. Biblowit, Prseident of the BCRF reported on the expanding revenues. The Roz and Les Goldstein Unsung Hero Award was presented by Mrs. Goldstein to Robin Clarfield Tolvin for staying with her sister-in-law Pat Clarfield every step of the way throughout her bout with breast cancer. And then, after dinner was served Sir Elton John, who was first introduced to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation by the late Linda Stein performed in concert with his band. Sir Elton’s concert was dedicated to his late, lamented friend who lost her life to an act of senseless violence several months ago.
The more than 1000 guests, included: Alan and Melinda Blinken, Sandra Brant and Ingrid Sischy, Melva Bucksbaum and Ray Learsy, Columba Bush, Dottie Herman, The Wathne Sisters, Berge, Soffia and Thorunn with Harry Platt, Ron and Harriet Weintraub, Jane Wenner, Tom and Alice Tisch, Laurie Tisch, Adrienne and Gigi Vittadini, John and Lauren Veronis, Cynthia and Dan Lufkin, Arthur Becker and Vera Wang, Richard Zieglasch, Natasha and Dirk Ziff, Daniel Romualdez, Muriel Siebert and Tony Baer, Bill Siegel and Monica Crowley, Jeanne and Herb Siegel, Christine Schwarzman, Carl and Barbaralee Diamonstein-Spielvogel, Mr. and Mrs. John Rosenwald, Steve and Heather Mnuchin, Deborah Norville and Karl Wellner, Frederic Pignault, Jane and Joe Pontarelli, Gwyneth Paltrow, Sue Ann Weinberg, Seymour Stein, Bonnie Strauss, Edward and Kinga Lampert, Larry and Dalia Leeds, Richard and Karen LeFrak, Cindi Lieve, Mr. and Mrs. Sandy Lindenbaum, Howard Lorber, Denise DeLuca, Gilles Mendel, Anne Keating, Michael and Eleanora Kennedy, Tommy Hilfiger and Dee Ocleppo, Gail Hilson, Barbara Goldsmith, Elizabeth Hurley and Arun Nayar, Laura Ingraham, Kevin Krier, Carson Kressley and Ross Klein, Coco Kopelman, Jill Kopelman, Donna Karean, Leslie and Peter Jones, Alexis Clark, Sean P. Diddy Combs, Charles and Valerie Diker, John Demsey, Edward and Suzanne Elson, Gaetana Enders, Baroness Zerilli-Marimo, Lydia Fenet, Sandi and Andrew Farkas, Padma Kakshmi and Ted Forstmann, David Furnish, Arne and Milly Glimcher, Jamee and Peter Gregory, Shoshanna and Josh Gruss, Patty Hambrecht and Edward Berbst, to name but a few.
|Also last night ... just up the street at 583 Park Avenue, The Horticultural Society of New York held its 11th Annual Flowers and Design benefit: "A Garden Party" and honored designer Charlotte Moss. The event chairs were Dr. Amy P. Goldman, Harvey and Constance Krueger, and David and Bobbie Margolis. The Benefit Committee Chairs were CeCe Black, Mr. and Mrs. James P. Flynn, Michael Rosenthal, Frances Schultz, Suzette de Marigny Smith, Elizabeth Stribling and Guy Robinson, and Mr. and Mrs. Peter Tcherepnine.|
|Katrina Parris Flowers.|
|Renny & Reed.|