For the 13th year in a row, the annual Children’s Aid Benefit on Thursday night in Manhattan showcased our agency’s outstanding young people, staff, and supporters. The inspiring evening featured incredible musical performances, moving speeches, and unbelievable generosity.
This year, the Benefit honored a longtime advocate of Children’s Aid, Centerbridge Partners, L.P. The event, which took place at the Ziegfeld Ballroom in midtown, raised nearly $2 million for our programs.
“As one of the largest providers of children’s services for more than 170 years, our work isn’t only comprehensive, it’s integrated,” President and CEO Phoebe C. Boyer said during her remarks. “We work to provide our families and our young people with hope from the first point of contact. We show up at every critical moment in their lives, and we celebrate every success.”
The evening began with a jazz performance by Donny Mendez. A former Children’s Aid kid at our first-ever community school, Donny dazzled the more than 400-person crowd with his saxophone skills.
Our current and former youth, as always, were the stars of the show. Three of our alumni, Kanika Cousine, Joel Colon, and Chanel Ramirez shared their stories of growing up with Children’s Aid before becoming successful, compassionate members of their communities.
Our youth co-hosts, Isis Troxler and Josiah Lee Johnson, bravely shared how our staff and programs helped them to overcome extraordinary life challenges, to learn to believe in themselves, and to prepare for a happy, healthy adult life.
“Children’s Aid celebrates the things I like about myself and gives me so many opportunities to develop and grow,” Isis told the crowd.
The evening’s theme, “Believe in your next chapter,” evoked the imagination and adventure at the heart of storybooks. When young people come to Children’s Aid, they are moving toward the next chapter of their lives, writing a better story for themselves in the process.
Our keynote speaker, Emmanuel Ferreiras, told his life story in four chapters: Growing up in an unsafe home, turning to Children’s Aid for assistance in an emergency, finding a loving home through foster care, and starting his journey in higher education. The audience was enthralled by his perseverance and positive outlook on life.
“It’s not hard to imagine where I would be if I hadn’t [come to Children’s Aid],” he said. “There are plenty of children who don’t ask for help or never see that help is being offered. Thanks to Children’s Aid, I did.”
We are incredibly grateful to our benefit committee and to our committee chairs for their hard work and leadership. The Benefit Committee chairs were: Leslie and Ashish Bhutani; Beth and Ira Leventhal; Jill and Brian Olson; and Suzanne Waltman and Martin Friedman. The Benefit Committee was comprised of: Patricio Barnuevo; Jackie Barth and Jay Nydick; Phoebe Boyer and Todd Snyder; Derick Brown and Ron Temple; Deborah David; Becky and Mike Goss; Julie and Sebastian Guth; Claire and Geoff Hauck; Nargis Hilal; Greg Kerr, M.D. and David Vaucher; Elizabeth Kipp-Giusti; Cathy and Christopher Lawrence; Siri Marshall; Delara Alameddine Mehra; Rahul Rekhi; Catherine Rocco Goodwin; Eren Rosenfeld and Jack Dunne; Lauren Razook Roth and John Roth; Amy and Charlie Scharf; Sarah M. Shanfield; Lisa Timmel and David Markus; Jeannie Tseng; Gaby Vogel; and Jennifer and Peter Wallace.
The 2023 Benefit was sponsored at the Ambassador level by Coleman Family Ventures; at the Champion level by Mark Gallogly and Lise Strickler; and at the Hero level by Leslie and Ashish Bhutani; Beth and Ira Leventhal; Lynn and Rick McNabb | Salt Flats; Melkus Family Foundation; Jill and Brian Olson; Lauren Razook Roth and John Roth; Amy and Charlie Scharf; and Suzanne Waltman and Martin Friedman.
Photographs from the 2023 Children’s Aid Benefit are available here.