Leading lights, writers, and business leaders

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Volunteers of America-Greater New York honored Cushman & Wakefield with the 2019 Spirit of the Founders Award. Back Row (l. to r.): Toby Dodd, John Santora, Todd Schwartz, David Lebenstein, Nolan Fearon, Yolanda Byrd, Jonathan Dintzis, and Ellen Baer. Front Row (l. to r.): Rachel Casanova, Lou D’Avanzo, Angela D’Aguanno, and Kyle Washington.

City College Center for the Arts celebrated the phenomenal achievements of veteran Journalist and talk show host Ed Gordon and the release of his newest book “Conversations in Black: On Power, Politics, and Leadership” on January 14, 2020 in Aaron Davis Hall.

Hard-hitting, thought-provoking, and inspiring, Conversations in Black offers sage wisdom for navigating race in a radically divisive America, and, with help from his mighty team of black intelligentsia, veteran journalist Ed Gordon creates hope and a timeless new narrative on what the future of black leadership should look like and how we can get there.

In Conversations in Black, Gordon brings together some of the most prominent voices in Black America today to answer questions about vital topics affecting our nation today.

Leecia Eve, Vince Boudreau, Dr. Karen Williams, Ed Gordon, and Barbette Lherisson.
L. to r.: Larry Albesiosu and Ed Gordon; Sunny Hostin and Arthel Neville.
Ryan Stewart, Carol Johnson Green, and Sharon Mackey-McGee.
Savanna Bowen and Morgan Bryant.
Nita Swilling and Robin Saunders.
L. to r.: Leecia Eve, Barbette Lherisson, and Dr. Karen Williams; Dr. Yvonne Ablorh-Odjidja and Leecia Eve.
Regina Brooks and Dorinda Walker.
Emma Loa Santelli and Kelly Thomas.
Stacey Apusey, Melanie A. Katzman PHD, Cornel Clark, and Stephanie Pen Seal.
Marilyn Booker.
James White, Greg Shanck, and Tasha Garcia.
Karen Witherspoon, Ed Gordon, Larry Albesiosu, and Sharon Mackey-McGee

New York City’s philanthropic and business leaders gathered as Volunteers of America-Greater New York (VOA-GNY) hosted its annual fundraising gala, A New York Winter’s Eve, at The Plaza in New York City.  Willie Geist, a long-time friend to VOA-GNY and host of Sunday TODAY with Willie Geist and co-host of Morning Joe, emceed the highly-anticipated fundraiser. 

VOA-GNY honored Cushman & Wakefield, a leading global real estate firm, with its Spirit of the Founders award. Each year the Spirit of the Founders award is presented to a person or company that leads the way in community involvement and contributes to the organization’s life-changing, often life-saving work, to care for the homeless, families affected by domestic violence, children with special needs, at-risk youth, adults living with HIV/AIDS, behavioral health or substance use issues, veterans and older adults. Lou D’Avanzo, Vice Chairman, Managing Principal, Midtown Manhattan at Cushman & Wakefield, was on hand to accept the award for the organization’s insightful support of the nonprofit arena and the many other ways it supports the NYC community.

Willie Geist, the evening’s emcee.

Marthe Kiemde and Issoufou Zougnoma were presented with a Volunteers of America-Greater New York Achievement Award for persevering in the face of adversity, and being an inspiration to others. Also in attendance was Paige Davis, host of TLC’s Trading Spaces, and a VOA-GNY Board Member, and Patrick Page, star of Broadway’s Hadestown.

Tere Pettitt, President and CEO of Volunteers of America-Greater New York, said, “The Spirit of the Founder’s Award is given to individuals and organizations who personify “community engagement” – who truly believe it is their duty to contribute to the health and welfare of the community in which it does business. Cushman is one such company.”

The event offered a cocktail reception with silent auction, a sit-down dinner, an award presentation and an exciting live auction led by CK Swett.

Lou D’Avanzo, Vice Chairman, Managing Principal, Midtown Manhattan at Cushman & Wakefield, who accepted the 2019 Spirit of the Founders Award on behalf of Cushman & Wakefield; with Tere Pettitt, Volunteers of America-Greater New York President and CEO.

Volunteers of America, Inc. (VOA, Inc.) is a national, human services organization that was founded in New York City in 1896 and has remained at the forefront of social service ever since. Volunteers of America-Greater New York (VOA-GNY), the local affiliate of the national organization, serves tens of thousands of men, women, and children in need every year, helping individuals and families in need overcome obstacles to living safe, healthy and productive lives in the community. It has 80 programs staffed by 1,300 skilled and dedicated employees, throughout New York City, Westchester County and Northern New Jersey. VOA-GNY’s life-changing, often life-saving work impacts the lives of individuals and families who are homeless and those at risk of homelessness, families recovering from domestic violence, children with developmental delays, individuals living with HIV/AIDS or behavioral health issues, older adults and veterans who are struggling. Volunteers of America-Greater New York is the largest provider of supportive housing for veterans in New York. VOA, Inc. is one of the largest providers of permanent, supportive housing in the U.S. Volunteers of America-Greater New York is widely known for its signature community service campaign, Operation Backpack®.

Gerry Cunningham, Chairman of the Volunteers of America-Greater New York Board of Directors, with Tere Pettitt, and Willie Geist.
Patrick Page and Paige Davis, Volunteers of America-Greater New York Board Member.
Angela Goins and Reginald Goins, President and Chief Operating Officer of Pepsi-Cola Bottling Company of New York.
Issoufou Zougnoma and Marthe Kiemde, Volunteers of America-Greater New York Achievement Award Honorees.
Mike King, President and CEO of Volunteers of America, Inc., with Tere Pettitt.
Lou Switzer, Chairman and CEO of The Switzer Group.
Wendy Williams.
John Santora, Cushman & Wakefield.

Leading lights from Broadway and the hotel industry gathered as the Hotel Association of New York City Foundation (HANYC Foundation) hosted the “Red Carpet Hospitality Gala,” HANYC Foundation’s Annual Dinner. The cast of Broadway’s hit musical “Ain’t Too Proud – The Life and Times of The Temptations” brought down the house with a special live musical performance. The event raised $310,000. Proceeds from the fundraiser, that took place at Grand Hyatt New York in Manhattan, will go towards the HANYC Foundation. 

The event was co-chaired by Vijay Dandapani, President and CEO, Hotel Association of New York City; Hermann Elger, Chairman, Hotel Association of NYC Foundation; and Fred Grapstein, Chairman, Hotel Association of New York City.

Fred Grapstein.

The HANYC Foundation honored Ian Schrager, Entrepreneur, Ian Schrager Company, and The Shubert Organization. Accepting on behalf of The Shubert Organization was Robert E. Wankel, President, The Shubert Organization. Introducing Mr. Schrager and Mr. Wankel was Jonathan M. Tisch, Chairman & CEO, Loews Hotels.

The Host Committee included Charles Flateman, Executive VP, Business Development, Shubert Organization; Karambir Kang, Area Director – USA, Taj Hotels Palaces Resorts Safaris; Lisa Linden, President & CEO, LAK Public Relations; Tyler Morse, CEO, MCR Development; Charlotte St. Martin, President, The Broadway League; Alan Steel, President & CEO, Jacob K. Javits Convention Center; and Jonathan M. Tisch, Chairman & CEO, Loews Hotels.

Ian Schrager.

A pair of Delta One Round-trip Business (US 48/Canada) airline tickets were raffled off at the event.

Established in 1878, the Hotel Association of New York City, Inc. is one of the oldest professional trade associations in the nation. Its membership comprises nearly 300 of the finest hotels in New York City, representing more nearly 80,000 rooms and 50,000 employees. www.hanyc.org/


L. to r.: Philip Smith and Robert E. Wankel; Vijay Dandapani and Fred Dixon.
Vijay Dandapani, Shawn Bowers, Jelani Remy, Charlotte St. Martin, Jonathan M. Tisch, Derrick Baskin, Robert E. Wankel, Elijah Ahmad Lewis, and James Harkness.
Thomas Schumacher and Derrick Baskin.
Jelani Remy, Derrick Baskin, Thomas Schumacher, Jonathan M. Tisch, James Harkness, Shawn Bowers, and Elijah Ahmad Lewis.
Vijay Dandapani, James Nederlander, Robert E. Wankel, Charlotte St. Martin, Thomas Schumacher, Nick Scandalios, and Paul Libin.
L. to r.: Jordan Roth, Jonathan M. Tisch, and Richie Jackson; Suri Kasirer and Vijay Dandapani.
Vijay Dandapani, Robert E. Wankel, and Jonathan M. Tisch.
Shawn Bowers, Jelani Remy, James Harkness, Elijah Ahmad Lewis, and Derrick Baskin.

Photographs by Cuppek Photography (VOA-GNY); Ronald L. Glassman (HANYC); John Sanderson/AnnieWatt.com (City College Center).

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