New York, NY — Children’s Aid hosted its 11th Annual Benefit to celebrate the organization’s history of service in New York City on Oct. 21 at the Ziegfeld Ballroom. The agency honored Reginald Van Lee, a partner and Chief Transformation Office at the Carlyle Group and a former appointee to President Barack Obama’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities, for his longstanding support of the arts.
The event raised $1.8 million, which will directly support youth and families in the communities we serve.
The event’s theme emphasized Children’s Aid’s enduring presence in the lives of our clients, even in the midst of “storms” like the coronavirus pandemic. Yellow umbrellas, which were given out as party favors for attendees, symbolized the cover, the warmth, and the access to resources that we strive to provide for our families every day.
Children’s Aid President and CEO Phoebe C. Boyer delivered a stirring message reflecting on those themes. “A lot of people talk about the safety net, the wide range of services that catch a family when they fall through the cracks in the system,” she said. “At Children’s Aid we think of ourselves as more of an umbrella, something by your side to carry you through the storm. And for the past 18 months, it’s been raining hard!
“Children’s Aid has weathered many storms. The things we’ve learned have made us stronger. It’s our job to ensure no child in New York City is left to brave the elements on their own.”
Van Lee was honored as a pioneering trailblazer, first as one of just 32 Black students in his undergraduate class at MIT and later during his long career as an investment executive. He has served on several nonprofit boards in the arts and humanities.
“It’s an honor to be recognized by Children’s Aid at this critical moment of renewal in New York City, the greatest city in the world,” Van Lee said. “We have shown resilience and we will continue to show resilience. You see it in the soul that shines in moments of need. That soul is alive and well here tonight with all of you and certainly with the depth and breadth of support Children’s Aid provides to thousands of families across New York City every year.”
During the evening, Children’s Aid youth took center stage. The event kicked off with a high-energy vocal performance from NYU senior Emmanuel De La Rosa. Keisha Lewis Moreno and Richard Lloyd, who are both sophomores at Fannie Lou Hamer Freedom High School in the Bronx, served as co-hosts throughout the course of the events. Keisha shared an emotional story about coming out of her shell after her family moved to New York City from the Dominican Republic, and Richard reflected on how this past year pushed him to become an activist.
“I found strength and a purpose in the pandemic,” he said, “and I found my voice.”
Past benefit honorees include Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Bank of America’s Jose L. Tavarez, PwC’s Tim Ryan, and Chobani’s Hamdi Ulukaya.
Beth and Ira Leventhal, and Jill Johnson and Tom Reynolds served as benefit committee chairs. Sponsors of the event included Ashish and Leslie Bhutani; The James and Judith K. Dimon Foundation; Beth and Ira Leventhal; Melkus Family Foundation; Lauren Razook Roth and John Roth; and Amy and Charlie Scharf.
Photographs from the event are available here.
For more information or to support Children’s Aid, please visit our website or follow us on Twitter @ChildrensAidNYC
For more than 165 years, Children’s Aid has been committed to ensuring that there are no boundaries to the aspirations of young people, no limits to their potential. We know what it takes to ensure children and youth grow up strong and healthy, and ready to thrive in school and life: excellent education and health care, social-emotional support, and strong stable families. Today, we serve nearly 50,000 children, youth, and their families at more than 40 sites in four under-resourced neighborhoods in New York City.